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^titjresseti to t]^e iSrotj^crs of t|^e ©latorg. 




Tempus tacendi, et tenipus loquendi. 

cfoarl^ ©ititian. 







My Dear Lord Primate, 
It is the infelicity of the moment at which I write, 
that it is not allowed me to place the following 
pages under the patronage of the successor of St 
Patrick, with the ceremony and observance due to 
so great a name, without appearing to show dis- 
respect to an Act of Parliament. 

Such appearance a Catholic is bound to avoid, 
whenever it is possible. The authority of the civil 
power is based on sanctions so solemn and august, 
and the temporal blessings which all classes derive 
from its protection are so many, that both on 
Christian principles and from motives of expedience 

vi Dedication, 

it is ever a duty, unless religious considerations 
interfere, to profess a simple deference to its 
enunciations, and a hearty concurrence in its very 
suggestions ; but how can I deny of your Grace 
what may almost be called a dogmatic fact, that 
you are what the Catholic Church has made you '? 
Evil, however, is never without its alleviation; 
and I think I shall have your Grace's concurrence, 
if in the present instance I recognise the operation, 
already commenced, of that unfailing law of Divine 
Providence, by which all events, prosperous or 
adverse, are made to tend, in one way or other, to 
the triumph of our Religion. The violence of our 
enemies has thrown us back upon ourselves and 
upon each other ; and though it needed no adven- 
titious cause to lead me to aspire to the honour of 
associating my nanje with that of your Grace, 
whose kindness I had already experienced so abun- 
dantly when I was at Rome in 1847, yet the pre- 
sent circumstances furnish a motive of their own, 
for my turning my eyes in devotion and affection 
to the Primate of that ancient and glorious and 
much- enduring Church, the Church of Ireland, 
who, from her own past history, can teach her 

Dedication. vii 

restored English Sister how to persevere in the 
best of causes, and can interchange with her, 
amid trials common to both, the tenderness of 
Catholic sympathy and the power of Catholic 

Begging of your Grace for me and mine the 
fulness of St Patrick's benediction, 

I am, my dear Lord Primate, 

Your Grace's faithful and affectionate Servant, 


Oftlie Oratory. 

The Oratory, 
S^t. 1851. 


It may be necessary to state, that by " Brothers of the 
Oratory " are meant the members of an Association or 
Confraternity of seculars attached, but external, to the 
Ecclesiastical Congregation, to which the Author be- 
longs. These are the persons to whom the following 
Lectures are addressed, with a view of suggesting to 
them, how best, as Catholics, to master their own 
position and to perform their duties in a Protestant 

The Author repeats here, what he has several times 
observed in the course of the Volume itself, that his 
object has not been to prove the divine origin of 
Catholicism, but to remove some of the moral and 
intellectual impediments which prevent Protestants 
from acknowledging it. Protestants cannot be expected 
to do justice to a religion whose professors they hate 
and scorn. It has been objected to the Author, as 

X Preface. 

regards both this and other of his works, that he 
succeeds better in demolition than in construction ; and 
he has been challenged to draw out a proof of the truth 
of the Catholic Faith. Persons who so speak, should 
consider the state of the case more accurately : — that he 
has not attempted the task to which they invite him, 
does not arise from any misgiving whatever in his 
mind about the strength of his cause, but about, the 
disposition of his audience. He has a most profound 
misgiving about their fairness as judges, founded on his 
sense of the misconceptions concerning Catholicism 
which generally pre-occupy the English mind. Irre- 
sistible as the proof seems to him to be, so as even to 
master and carry away the intellect, as soon as it is 
stated, so that Catholicism is almost its own evidence, 
yet it requires, as the great philosopher of antiquity 
reminds us, as being a moral proof, a rightly-disposed 
recipient. While a community is overrun with pre- 
judices, it is as premature to attempt to prove that 
doctrine to be true which is the object of them, as it 
would be to think of building in the aboriginal forest 
till its trees had been felled. 

The controversy with our opponents is not simple, 
but various and manifold ; when a Catholic is doing one 
thing, he cannot be doing another ; yet the common 
answer made to his proof of this point is, that it is no 
proof of that. Thus men shift about, silenced in 

Preface. xi 

nothing, because they have not yet been answered in 
everything. Let them admit what we have already 
proved, and they will have a claim on us for proof 
of more. One thing at a time is the general rule 
given for getting through business well, and it 
applies to the case before us. In a large and com- 
plicated question, it is much to settle portions of 
it; yet this is so little understood, .that a course 
of Lectures might profitably confine itself simply 
to the consideration of the canons to be observed 
in disputation. Catholics would have cause to con- 
gratulate themselves, though they were able to proceed 
no further than to persuade Protestants to argue out 
one point before going on to another. It would be 
much even to get them to give up what they could 
not defend, and to promise that they would not return 
to it. It would be much to succeed in hindering them 
frommaking a great deal of an objection till it is refuted, 
and then suddenly considering it so small that it is not 
worth withdrawing. It would be much to hinder 
them from eluding a defeat on one point by digressing 
upon three or four others, and then presently running 
back to the first, and then to and fro, to second, third, 
and fourth, and treating each in turn as if quite a fresh 
subject on which not a word had yet been said. In all 
controversy it is surely right to mark down and record 
what has been proved, as well as what has not ; and 

xii Preface. 

this is what the Author claims of the reader as regards 
the following Volume. 

He claims, and surely with justice, that it should 
not be urged against his proof that Protestant views of 
Catholics are wrong, that he has not thereby proved 
that Catholicism is right. He wishes his proof taken 
for what it is. He certainly has not proved what he 
did not set about proving ; and neither he nor any one 
else has any encouragement to go on to prove some- 
thing more, until what he actually has accomplished is 
distinctly acknowledged. The obligations of a contro- 
versialist lie with Protestants equally as with us. 

As regards his Catholic readers, he would ask leave 
to express a hope that he may not be supposed in his 
concluding Lecture to recommend to the Laity the 
cultivation of a controversial temper, or a forwardness 
and rashness and unseasonableness in disputing upon 
religion. No one apprehends so clearly the difficulty 
of arguing on religious topics, consistently with their 
sacredness and delicacy, as he who has taken pains to 
do so well. No one shrinks so sensitively from its 
responsibility, when it is not a. duty, as he who has 
learned by experience his own unavoidable inaccuracies 
in statement and in reasoning. It is no easy accom- 
plishment in a Catholic to know his religion so perfectly, 
as to be able to volunteer a defence of it. 

The Author has, besides, to apologize to them for 

Preface. xiii 

having perhaps made some quotations of Scripture from 
the Protestant version. If anywhere he has been led 
to do so, it has been in cases, where, points of faith 
not being involved, it was necessary for the argumen- 
tative or rhetorical force of the passages in which they 

And lastly, he earnestly begs their prayers that he 
may be prospered and blest in whatever he attempts, 
however poorly, for God's glory and the edification of 
His Church. 

In Fest. Kativ. B. M. V., 1851. 





VIEW, 39 












rpHERE is a well-known fable, of whicli it is to my 
-*- purpose to remind you, my Brothers of the Oratory, 
by way of introducing to you the subject of the Lectures 
which I am proposing to deliver. I am going to in- 
quire why it is, that, in this intelligent nation, and in 
this rational nineteenth century, we Catholics are so 
despised and hated by our own countrymen, with whom 
we have lived all our lives, that they are prompt to 
believe any story, however extravagant, that is told to 
our disadvantage ; as if beyond a doubt we were, every 
one of us, either brutishly deluded or preternaturally 
hypocritical, and they, themselves, on the contrary, 
were in comparison of us absolute specimens of sagacity, 
wisdom, uprightness, manly virtue, and enlightened 
Christianity. I am not inquiring why they are not 
Catholics themselves, but why they are so angry with 
those who are. Protestants differ amongst themselves, 
without calling each other fools and knaves. Nor, again, 
am I proposing to prove to you, or to myself, that knaves 
and fools we are not, not idolaters, not blasphemers, 
not men of blood, not profligates, not steeped in sin and 


2 Protestant View 

seared in conscience ; for we know each other and onr- 
selves. No, my Catholic friends whom I am address- 
ing, I am neither attacking another's belief just now, 
nor defending myself : I am not engaging in controversy, 
though controversy is good in its place : I do but pro- 
pose to investigate how Catholics come to be so trodden 
under foot, and spurned by a people which is endowed 
by nature with many great qualities, moral and in- 
tellectual ; how it is that we are cried out against by 
the very stones, and bricks, and tiles, and chimney- 
pots of a populous busy place, such as this town which 
we inhabit. The clearer sense we have of our own 
honesty, of the singleness of our motives, and the purity 
of our aims — of the truth, the beauty, the power of our 
religion, its exhaustless fund of consolation for the 
weary, and its especial correspondence to the needs of 
the weak — so much the greater may well be our per- 
plexity to find that its advocates for the most part do 
not even gain a hearing in this country ; that facts, and 
logic, and justice, and good sense, and right, and virtue, 
are all supposed to lie in the opposite scale ; and that 
it is bid be thankful and contented, if it is allowed to 
exist, if it is barely tolerated, in a free people. Such 
a state of things is not only a trial to flesh and blood, 
but a discomfort to the reason and imagination : it is 
a riddle which frets the mind from the difficulty of 
solving it. 


Now then for my fable, which is not the worse be- 
cause it is old. The Man once invited the Lion to be 
his guest, and received him with princely hospitality. 

of the Catholic Chtifch. 3 

The Lion liad the run of a magnificent palace, in which 
there were a vast many things to admire. There were 
large saloons and long corridors, richly furnished and 
decorated, and filled with a profusion of fine specimens 
of sculpture and painting, the works of the first 
masters in either art. The subjects represented were 
various; hut the most prominent of them had an 
especial interest for the noble animal who stalked by 
them. It was that of the Lion himself; and as the 
owner of the mansion led him from one apartment 
into another, he did not fail to direct his attention 
to the indirect homage which these various groups 
and tableaux paid to the importance of the lion 

There was, however, one remarkable feature in all of 
them, to which the host, silent as he was from politeness, 
seemed not at all insensible ; that diverse as were these re- 
presentations, in one point they all agreed, that the man 
was always victorious, and the lion was always overcome. 
The man had it all his own way, and the lion was but a 
fool, and served to make him sport. There were ex- 
quisite works in marble, of Samson rending the lion like 
a kid, and young David taking the lion by the beard and 
choking him. There was the man who ran his arm down 
the lion's throat, and held him fast by the tongue ; and 
there was that other who, when carried off in his teeth, 
contrived to pull a penknife from his pocket, and lodge 
it in the monster's heart. Then there was a lion hunt, 
or what had been such, for the brute was rolling round 
in the agonies of death, and his conqueror on his bleed- 
ing horse was surveying these from a distance. There 
was a gladiator from the Roman amphitheatre in mortal 

4 Protestant View 

struggle witli his tawny foe, and it was plain who was 
getting the mastery. There was a lion in a net ; a lion 
in a trap ; four lions, yoked in harness, were drawing the 
car of a Roman emperor ; and elsewhere stood Hercules, 
clad in the lion's skin, and with the club which de- 
molished him. 

Nor was this all : the lion was not only triumphed 
over, mocked, spurned ; but he was tortured into ex- 
travagant forms, as if he were not only the slave and 
creature, but the very creation of man. He became an 
artistic decoration, and an heraldic emblazonment. The 
feet of alabaster tables fell away into lions' paws ; lions' 
faces grinned on each side the shining mantelpiece; 
and lions' mouths held tight the handles of the doors. 
There were sphinxes, too, half lion half woman; there 
were lions rampant holding flags, lions couchant, lions 
passant, lions regardant; lions and unicorns; there 
were lions white, black, and red : in short, there was no 
misconception or excess of indignity which was thought 
too great for the lord of the forest and the king of brutes. 
After he had gone over the mansion, his entertainer 
asked him what he thought of the splendours it con- 
tained ; and he in reply did full justice to the riches of 
its owner and the skill of its decorators, but he added, 
" Lions would have fared better, had lions been the 

You see the application. Brothers of the Oratory, 
before I make it. There are two sides to everything ; 
there is a Catholic side of the argument, and there is 
a Protestant. There is a story of two knights who 
met together on opposite sides of a monument : one of 
them praised the gold on the shield of the warrior 

of the Catholic Church. 5 

sculptured upon it, and the other answered that it was 
not gold, but silver. On this issue they fought ; and 
in the course of the combat they changed places, and 
were flung, dismounted and wounded, each upon the 
ground occupied originally by his foe. Then they dis- 
covered that the shield was gold on one side, silver on the 
other, and that both of them were right, and both were 
wrong. Now, Catholic and Protestant are not both 
right and both wrong : there is but one truth, not two 
truths ; and that one truth, we know, is in the Catholic 
Religion. However, without going on just now to the 
question where the truth lies (which is a further ques- 
tion not to my present purpose), still it is certain, 
though truth is one, that arguments are many, and 
there are always two sides in every dispute — I do not 
say both of them supported by arguments equally 
cogent and convincing, of course not; still, there is 
a Protestant side, and there is a Catholic side — and if 
you have heard but one of them, you will think nothing 
at all can be said on the other. If, then, a person 
listens only to Protestantism, and does not give fair 
play to the Catholic reply to it, of course he thinks 
Protestantism very rational and straightforward, and 
Catholics very absurd; because he takes for granted 
the Protestant facts, which are commonly fictions, and 
opens his mind to Protestant arguments, which are 
always fallacies. A case may be made out for any one 
or anything; the veriest villain at the bar of justice is 
an injured man, a victim, a hero, in the defence made 
for him by his counsel. There are writers who dress 
up vice till it looks like virtue : Goethe, I believe, 
has invested adultery with a sentimental grace ; and 

6 Protestant View 

Schiller's drama of the " Eobbers " is said to have 
sent the young Germans of his day upon the highway. 
The same has been reported of Gay's "Beggar's Opera;" 
and in our own time a celebrated poet has thrown an 
interest over Cain, the first murderer. Anything will 
become plausible, if you read all that can be said in its 
favour, and exclude all that can be said against it. 

Thus it comes to pass that, in a measure, every one 
(as I may say) has his own sphere of ideas and method 
of thought, in which he lives, and as to which he differs 
from every one else ; and, unless he be a philosopher, 
he will be apt to consider his own view of things, his 
own principles, his own tastes, to be just and right, and 
to despise others altogether. He despises other men, 
and other modes of opinion and action, simply because 
he does not understand them. He is fixed in his own 
centre, refers everything to it, and never throws himself, 
perhaps cannot throw himself, into the minds of stran- 
gers, or into a state of things not familiar to him. So 
it is especially between country and country : the Eng- 
lishman thinks his beef and pudding worth all the 
resources of the French cuisine; and the Frenchman 
thought for certain, until the peace, that he had gained 
the battle of Trafalgar. Taking men as they are com- 
monly found, one man is not equal to the task of 
appreciating the circle of ideas and the atmosphere of 
thought which is the life of another ; and yet he will 
commonly be forward in criticising and condemning it; 
condemning it, not as having heard what it has to say 
for itself, but simply and precisely for the very opposite 
reason, because he has not. 

You know it is a favourite device with writers of 

of the CatJiolic Church, 7 

fiction to introduce into tlieir composition personages of 
very different characters taking their respective views 
of one and the same transaction, or describing and 
criticising each other; the interest which such an ex- 
hibition creates in the reader lying in this, that each 
of the persons in question is living in his own world, 
and cannot enter into the world of another, and there- 
fore paints that other in his own way, and presents us 
with a caricature instead of a likeness, though he does 
not intend it. I recollect an amusing passage of this 
kind, out of many which might be cited, in one of Sir 
Walter Scott's tales,* which I hope it is not unbecoming 
to quote, since it is so much to the purpose. 

A middle-aged country gentleman and his wife for a 
while have the care of a very young lady. The host is 
very matter-of-fact, and his youthful guest, on the 
other hand, is very romantic ; and the humour of the 
narrative lies in the very opposite judgments passed 
respectively on the guest by the host, and on the host 
by the guest. The elderly man, with whom the shadows 
and illusions of human existence are over, and who 
estimates things not by their appearance, but by their 
weight, writing to the father of his young charge 
with a good deal of kind feeling towards her, and 
some good-humoured contempt of her flightiness, tells 
him that she "has much of a romantic turn" in her 
disposition, with a " little of the love of admiration ; " 
that " she has a quick and lively imagination, and 
keen feelings, which are apt to exaggerate both the 
good and evil they find in life ; " that " she is 
generous and romantic, and writes six sheets a week 

* Guy Mannering. 

8 Protestant View 

to a female correspondent." "You know," he says, 
" how I have jested with her about her soft melancholy, 
and lonely walks at morning before any one is up, and 
in the moonlight, when all should be gone to bed, or 
set down to cards, which is the same thing." And he 
ends by speaking with some apprehension and dislike 
of a place of amusement near his grounds, which is " the 
resort of walking gentlemen of all descriptions, poets, 
players, painters, musicians, who come to rave and re- 
cite, and madden about this picturesque land of ours. 
It is paying some penalty for its beauties," he adds, 
" if they are the means of drawing this swarm of cox- 
combs together." 

On the other hand, the young lady, writing to a 
school acquaintance of her own age, says, " If India 
be the land of magic, this is the country of romance. 
The scenery is such as nature brings together in her 
sublimest moods ; all the wildness of Salvator here, 
and there the fairy scenes of Claude. I am at present 
the inmate of an old friend of my father. He is a 
different, quite a different being from my father, yet he 
amuses and endures me. He is fat and good-natured, 
gifted with strong, shrewd sense, and some powers of 
humour ; and having been handsome, I suppose, in his 
youth, has still some pretension to be a heau gargon, 
as well as an enthusiastic agriculturalist. I delight 
to make him scramble to the top of eminences, and to 
the foot of waterfalls ; and am obliged in turn to 
admire his turnips, his lucerne, and his timothy-grass. 
He thinks me, I fancy, a simple, romantic miss ; so he 
rallies, hands, and hobbles (for the dear creature has 
got the gout too), and tells old stories of high life, of 

of the Catholic Church. 9 

which he has seen a good deal ; and I listen, and smile, 
and look as pleasant and as simple as I can, and we do 
very well." 

This is but a sample of what meets ns in life on every 
hand ; the young have their own view of things, the 
old have theirs ; high and low, trader and farmer, each 
has his own, by which he measures everything else, 
and which' is proved to be but a view, and not a reality, 
because there are so many other views just as good as 
it is. What is true of individuals is true of nations ; 
however plausible, however distinct, however complete 
the national view of this or that matter may be, it does 
not follow that it is not a mere illusion, if it has not 
been duly measured with other views of the same 
matter. No conclusion is trustworthy which has not 
been tried by enemy as well as friend ; no traditions 
have a claim upon us which shrink from criticism, and 
dare not look a rival in the face. Now this is precisely 
the weak point of Protestantism in this country. It 
is jealous of being questioned ; it resents argument ; 
it flies to State protection ; it is afraid of the sun ; it 
forbids competition. How can you detect the sham, 
but by comparing it with the true? Your artificial 
flowers have the softness and brilliancy of nature, till 
you bring in the living article fresh from the garden ; 
you detect the counterfeit coin by ringing it with the 
genuine. So is it in religion. Protestantism is at 
best but a fine piece of wax-work, which does not look 
dead, only because it is not confronted by that Church 
which really breathes and lives. The living Church is 
the test and the confutation of all false Churches ; 
therefore get rid of her at all hazards ; tread her down, 

lo Protestant View 

gag her, dress her like a felon, starve her, bruise her 
features, if you would keep up your mumbo-jumbo in 
its place of pride. By no manner of means give her 
fair play ; you dare not. The dazzling brightness of 
her glance, the sanctity beaming from her countenance, 
the melody of her voice, the grace of her movements, 
will be too much for you. Blacken her ; make her 
Cinderella in the ashes ; do not hear a word she says. 
Do not look on her, but daub her in your own way ; 
keep up the good old sign-post representation of her. 
Let her be a lion rampant, a griffin, a wivern, or a 
salamander. She shall be red or black ; she shall be 
always absurd, always imbecile, always malicious, 
always tyrannical. The lion shall not draw the lion, 
but the man shall draw him. She shall be always 
worsted in the warfare with Protestantism ; ever un- 
horsed and disarmed, ever running away, ever prostrated, 
ever smashed and pounded, ever dying, ever dead ; and 
the only wonder is that she has to be killed so often, 
and the life so often to be trodden out of her, and her 
priests and doctors to be so often put down, and her 
monks and nuns to be exposed so often, and such vast 
sums to be subscribed by Protestants, and such great 
societies to be kept up, and such millions of tracts to 
be written, and such persecuting acts to be passed in 
Parliament, in order thoroughly, and once for all, and 
for the very last time, and for ever and ever, to 
annihilate her once more. However, so it shall be ; 
it is, forsooth, our received policy, as Englishmen, our 
traditionary view of things, to paint up the Pope and 
Papists in a certain style. We have a school of paint- 
ing all our own. Every character or personage has 

of the Catholic Church. 1 1 

its own familiar emblem ; Justice has her "balance, 
Hope her anchor, Britannia her trident. Again, 
history has its conventional properties; Kichard the 
First was the lion-hearted, and Kichard the Third was 
the crook-back ; William the First was the Conqueror, 
and William the Third ^' the pious, glorious, and 
immortal." These are our first principles ; they are 
unalterable ; like the pillars of heaven, touch them, 
and you bring our firmament down. True or false is 
not the question ; there they are. So is it with the view 
we take of Popery ; its costume is fixed, like the wigs 
of our judges, or the mace of our mayors. Have not 
free-born Britons a right to think as they please? 
We rule Popery to be what we say it is, not by history, 
but by Act of Parliament ; not by sight or hearing, but 
by the national will. It is the will of the Legislature, 
it is the voice of the people, which gives facts their com- 
plexion, and logic its course, and ideas their definition. 


Now I repeat, in order to obviate misconception, I 
am neither assuming, nor intending to prove, that the 
Catholic Church comes from above (though, of course, 
I should not have become, or be, one of her children, 
unless I firmly held and hold her to be the direct work 
of the Almighty) ; but here I am only investigating 
how it is she comes to be so despised and hated among 
us ; since a Religion need not incur scorn and animosity 
simply because it is not recognised as true. And, I 
say, the reason is this, that reasons of State, political 
and national, prevent her from being heard in her de- 
fence. She is considered too absurd to be inquired 

12 Protestant View 

into, and too corrupt to be defended, and too dangerous 
to be treated with equity and fair dealing. She is the 
victim of a prejudice which perpetuates itself, and gives 
birth to what it feeds upon. 

I will adduce two or three instances of what I mean. 
It happens every now and then that a Protestant, 
sometimes an Englishman, more commonly a foreigner, 
thinks it worth while to look into the matter himself, 
and his examination ends, not necessarily in his con- 
version (though this sometimes happens too), but, at 
least, in his confessing the absurdity of the outcry 
raised against the Catholic Church, and the beauty or 
the excellence, on the other hand, of those very facts 
and doctrines which are the alleged ground of it. What 
I propose to do, then, is simply to remind you of the 
popular feeling concerning two or three of the charac- 
teristics of her history and her teaching, and then to 
set against them the testimony of candid Protestants 
who have examined into them. This will be no proof 
that those candid Protestants are right, and the popular 
feeling wrong (though certainly it is more likely that 
they should be right who have impartially studied the 
matter, than those who have nothing whatever to say 
for their belief but that they have ever been taught it), 
but, at least, it will make it undeniable, that those who 
do not know there are tw^ sides of the question (that is, 
the bulk of the English nation), are violent because they 
are ignorant, and that Catholics are treated with scorn 
and injustice simply because, though they have a good 
deal to say in their defence, they have never patiently 
been heard. 

1. For instance, the simple notion of most people is, 

of the Catholic Chztrch. 13 

that Christianity was very pure in its beginning, was very 
corrupt in the middle age, and is very pure in England 
now, though still corrupt everywhere else : that in the 
middle age, a tyrannical institution, called the Church, 
arose and swallowed up Christianity; and that that 
Church is alive still, and has not yet disgorged its prey, 
except, as aforesaid, in our own favoured country; but in 
the middle age, there was no Christianity anywhere at 
all, but all was dark and horrible, as bad as paganism, or 
rather much worse. No one knew anything about God, 
or whether there was a God or no, nor about Christ or 
His atonement ; for the Blessed Virgin, and Saints, and 
the Pope, and images, were worshipped instead ; and 
thus, so far from religion benefiting the generations of 
mankind who lived in that dreary time, it did them in- 
definitely more harm than good. Thus, the Homilies 
of the Church of England say, that "in the pit of 
damnable idolatry all the world, as it were, drowned, 
continued until our age " (that is, the Reformation), 
"by the space of above 800 years ... so that laity 
and clergy, learned and unlearned, all ages, sects, and 
degrees of men, women, and children, of whole Christen- 
dom (an horrible and most dreadful thing to think), 
have been at once drowned in abominable idolatry, 
of all other vices most detested of God, and most 
damnable to man." Accordingly, it is usual to identify 
this period with that time of apostasy which is predicted 
in Scripture, the Pope being the man of sin, and the 
Church being the mother of abominations, mentioned 
in the Apocalypse. Thus, Bishop Newton says, " In 
the same proportion as the power of the [Roman] empire 
decreased, the authority of the Church increased, the 

14 Protestant View 

latter at the expense and ruin of the former ; till at 
length the Pope grew up above all, and ' the wicked one ' 
was fully manifested and ' revealed,' or the ' lawless 
one,' as he may be called ; for the Pope is declared 
again and again not to be bound by any law of God 
or man." " The tyrannical power, thus described by 
Daniel and St Paul, and afterwards by St John, is, both 
by ancients and moderns, generally denominated Anti- 
christ, and the name is proper and expressive enough, 
as it may signify both the enemy of Christ and the 
vicar of Christ." * '' The mind of Europe was prostrated 
at the feet of a priest," says a dissenting writer. " The 
stoutest hearts quailed at his frown. Seated on the 
throne of blasphemy, he ' spake great words against 
the Most High,' and ' thought to change times and laws.' 
Many hated him, but all stood in awe of his power. 
Like Simon Magus, he * bewitched the people.' Like 
Nebuchadnezzar, 'whom he would he slew.' " I need 
not give you the trouble of listening to more of such 
language, which you may buy by the yard at the first 
publisher's shop you fall in with. Thus it is the Man 
paints the Lion. Go into the first Protestant church 
or chapel or public meeting which comes in your way, 
you will hear it from the pulpit or the platform. The 
Church (who can doubt it ?) is a sorceress, intoxicating 
the nations with a goblet of blood. 

However, all are not satisfied to learn by rote what 
they are to afiirm on matters so important, and to feed 
all their life long on the traditions of the nursery. 
They examine for themselves, and then forthwith we 
have another side of the question in dispute. For in- 

• Dissert, 22. 

of the Catholic Church. 15 

stance, I say, hear -what that eminent Protestant his- 
torian, M. Guizot, who was lately Prime Minister of 
France, says of the Church in that period, in which 
she is reported by our popular writers to have been 
most darkened and corrupted. You will observe (what 
makes his remarks the stronger) that, being a Pro- 
testant, he does not believe the Church really to have 
been set up by Christ Himself, as a Catholic does, but 
to have taken her present form in the middle age ; and 
he contrasts, in the extract I am about to read, the 
pure Christianity of primitive times, with that later 
Christianity, as he considers it, which took an eccle- 
siastical shape. 

" If the Church had not existed," he observes, '^ I 
know not what would have occurred during the decline 
of the Eoman Empire. I confine myself to purely 
human considerations, I cast aside every element foreign 
to the natural consequence of natural facts, and I say 
that, if Christianity had only continued, as it was in 
the early ages, — a belief, a sentiment, an individual 
conviction, — it is probable it would have fallen amidst 
the dissolution of the empire, during the invasion of 
the barbarians. ... I do not think I say too much 
when I affirm, that, at the close of the fourth and the 
commencement of the fifth century, the Christian 
Church was the salvation of Christianity y * 

In like manner, Dr Waddington, the present Pro- 
testant Dean of Durham, in his Ecclesiastical History, f 
observes to the same purport: "At this crisis," viz. 
when the Western Empire was overthrown, and occu- 
pied by unbelieving barbarians, " at this crisis it is 

* Europ. Civ., p. 56, Beckwith. f Ch. xiii. 

i6 Protestant View 

not too mucTi to assert, that the Church was the instru- 
ment of Heaven for the preservation of the Religion. 
Christianity itself, unless miraculously sustained, would 
have been swept away from the surface of the West, had 
it not been rescued by an established body of ministers, 
or had that body been less zealous or less influential." 
And then he goes on to mention six special benefits 
which the Church of the middle ages conferred on the 
world ; viz. first, she provided for the exercise of charity ; 
secondly, she inculcated the moral duties by means of 
her penitential discipline ; thirdly, she performed the 
ofiice of legislation in an admirable way ; fourthly, she 
unceasingly strove to correct the vices of the existing 
social system, setting herself especially against the 
abomination of slavery ; fifthly, she laboured anxiously 
in the prevention of crime and of war ; and lastly, she 
has preserved to these ages the literature of the ancient 

Now, without entering into the controversy about 
idolatry, sorcery, and blasphemy, which concerns 
matters of opinion, are these Protestant testimonies, 
which relate to matters oi fact, compatible with such 
imputations? Can blasphemy and idolatry be the 
salvation of Christianity ? Can sorcery be the pro- 
moter of charity, morality, and social improvement? 
Yet, in spite of the fact of these contrary views of 
the subject, — in spite of the nursery and schoolroom 
authors being against us, and the manly and original 
thinkers being in our favour, — you will hear it coramonly 
spoken of as notorious, that the Church in the middle 
ages was a witch, a liar, a profligate, a seducer, and a 
bloodthirsty tyrant; and we, who are her faithful chil- 

of the Catholic Chicfxh. 17 

dren, are superstitious and slavish, because we entertain 
some love and reverence for her, who, as a certain 
number of her opponents confess, was then, as she is 
now, the motlier of peace, and humanity, and order. 

2. So much for the middle ages ; next I will take an 
instance of modern times. If there be any set of men 
in the whole world who are railed against as the pattern 
of all that is evil, it is the Jesuit body. It is vain to 
ask their slanderers what they know of them ; did they 
ever see a Jesuit ? can they say whether there are many 
or few ? what do they know of their teaching ? " Oh ! 
it is quite notorious,''^ they reply ; " you might as well 
deny the sun in heaven ; it is notorious that the Jesuits 
are a crafty, intriguing, unscrupulous, desperate, mur- 
derous, and exceedingly able body of men ; a secret 
society, ever plotting against liberty, and government, 
and progress, and thought, and the prosperity of Eng- 
land. Nay, it is awful ; they disguise themselves in a 
thousand shapes, as men of fashion, farmers, soldiers, 
labourers, butchers, and pedlars ; they prowl about with 
handsome stocks, and stylish waistcoats, and gold chains 
about their persons, or in fustian jackets, as the case 
may be ; and they do not hesitate to shed the blood of 
any one whatever, prince or peasant, who stands in 
their way." Who can fathom the inanity of such 
statements? — which are made, and therefore, I sup- 
pose, believed, not merely by the ignorant, but by 
educated men, who ought to know better, and will 
have to answer for their false witness. But all this 
is persisted in ; and it is affirmed that they were 
found to be too bad even for Catholic countries, the 
governments of which, it seems, in the course of the 


1 8 Protestant View 

last century, forcibly obliged the Pope to put them 

Now I conceive that just one good witness, one person 
who has the means of knowing how things really stand, 
is worth a tribe of these pamphleteers, and journalists, 
and novelists, and preachers, and orators. So I will 
turn to a most impartial witness, and a very competent 
one ; one who was born of Catholic parents, was edu- 
cated a Catholic, lived in a Catholic country, was 
ordained a Catholic priest, and then, renouncing the 
Catholic religion, and coming to England, became the 
friend and protege of the most distinguished Protestant 
Prelates of the present day, and the most bitter enemy ' 
of the faith which he had once professed — I mean the 
late Rev. Joseph Blanco White. Now hear what he 
says about the Jesuits in Spain, his native country, at 
the time of their suppression. 

" The Jesuits," * he says, " till the abolition of that 
order, had an almost unrivalled influence over the 
better classes of Spaniards. They had nearly mono- 
polised the instruction of the Spanish youth, at which 
they toiled without pecuniary reward, and were equally 
zealous in promoting devotional feelings both among 
their pupils and the people at large. . . . Wherever, 
as in France and Italy, literature was in high estima- 
tion, the Jesuits spared no trouble to raise among 
themselves men of eminence in that department. In 

* I have omitted some clauses and sentences which either expressed 
the opinions of the author, as distinct from his testimony, or which at 
least are irrelevant to the matter in hand ; which is simply to show, 
not what a Protestant can speak against (which no one can doubt), but 
what he can say in favour of, this calumniated body : however, to prevent 
misrepresentation, the entire passage shall be given at the end of the 

of the Catholic Church. 19 

Spain tlieir cliief aim was to provide their houses with 
popular preachers, and zealous, yet prudent and gentle 
confessors. Pascal, and the Jansenist party, of which 
he was the organ, accused them of systematic laxity 
in tlieir moral doctrines; but the charge, I believe, 
though plausible in theory, was perfectly groundless 

in practice The influence of the Jesuits on 

Spanish morals, from everything I have learned, was 
undoubtedly favourable. Tlieir kindness attracted the 
youth from their schools to their Company ; and .... 
they greatly contributed to the preservation of virtue 
in that slippery age, both by the ties of affection, and 
the gentle check of example. Their churches were 
crowded every Sunday with regular attendants, who 

came to confess and receive the sacrament 

Their conduct was correct, and their manners refined. 
They kept up a dignified intercourse with the middling 
and higher classes, and were always ready to help and 
instruct the poor, without descending to their level. 
.... Whatever we may think of the political delin- 
quencies of their leaders, their bitterest enemies have 
never ventured to charge the Order of Jesuits with 
moral irregularities," Does this answer to the popu- 
lar notion of a Jesuit? Will Exeter Hall be content 
with the testimony of one who does not speak from 
hereditary prejudice, but from actual knowledge? 
Certainly not; and in consequence it ignores all 
statements of the kind; they are to be uttered, and 
they are to be lost; and the received slander is to 
keep its place as part and parcel of the old stock in 
trade, and in the number of the heirlooms of Protes- 
tantism, the properties of its stage, the family pictures 

20 Protestant View 

of its old mansion, in the great controversy between 
the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the children of 

3. Now I will go back to primitive times, which shall 
furnish me with a third instance of the subject I am 
illustrating. Protestants take it for granted, that the 
history of the monks is a sore point with us ; that it 
is simply one of our diflSculties ; that it at once puts 
us on the defensive, and is, in consequence, a brilliant 
and effective weapon in controversy. They fancy that 
Catholics can do nothing when monks are mentioned, 
but evade, explain away, excuse, deny, urge difference 
of times, and at the utmost make them out not quite 
so bad as they are reported. They think monks are 
the very types and emblems of laziness, uselessness, 
ignorance, stupidity, fanaticism, and profligacy. They 
think it a paradox to say a word in their favour, and 
they have converted their name into a title of reproach. 
As a Jesuit means a knave, so a monk means a bigot. 
Here, again, things would show very differently, if 
Catholics had the painting ; but I will be content with 
a Protestant artist, the very learned, and thoughtful, 
and celebrated German historian, who is lately dead, 
Dr Neander. No one can accuse him of any tenden- 
cies towards Catholicism ; nor does he set about to 
compose a panegyric. He is a deep-read student, a 
man of facts, as a German should be ; and, as a narra- 
tor of facts, in his Life of St Chrysostom, he writes 
thus : — 

" It was by no means intended that the monks 
should lead a life of listless contemplation; on the 
contrary, manual labour was enjoined on them as a duty 

of the Catholic Church. 21 

by their rational adherents, by Chrysostom, as well as 
Augustine, although many fanatical mystics, and 
advocates of an inactive life" (who, by the way, were 
not Catholics, but heretics) "rejected, under the cloak 
of sanctity, all connection of a laborious with a con- 
templative life. Cassian relates, that not only the 
monasteries of Egypt, but that the districts of Libya, 
when suffering from famine, and also the unfortunate 
men who languished in the prisons of cities, were sup- 
ported by the labour of the monks. Augustine relates, 
that the monks of Syria and Egypt were enabled, by 
their labour and savings, to send ships laden with 
provisions to distressed districts. The monks of the 
East were remarkable for their hospitality, although 
their cells and cloisters were infinitely poorer than 
those of their more recent brethren of the West. The 
most rigid monks, who lived only on salt and bread, 
placed before their guests other food, and at times 
consented to lay aside their accustomed severity, in 
order to persuade them to partake of the refresh- 
ments which were set before them. A monk on the 
Euphrates collected together many blind beggars, built 
dwellings for them, taught them to sing Christian 
hymns with him, and induced a multitude of men, who 
sought him from all classes, to contribute to their 

" Besides the promotion of love and charity, there 
was another object which induced the lawgivers of 
mouachism to enjoin labour as an especial duty. 
They wished to keep the passions in subjection, and 
to maintain a due balance between the spiritual and 
physical powers of human nature, because the latter, if 

2 2 Protestant View 

unemployed and under no control, easily exercise a 
destructive influence over the former. 

" Among the rules of Basil, we find the following 
decision respecting the trades which formed the occupa- 
tion of the monks. Those should he preferred, which 
did not interfere with a peaceable and tranquil life ; 
which occasioned but little trouble in the provision of 
proper materials for the work, and in the sale of it 
when completed ; which required not much useless or 
injurious intercourse with men, and did not gratify 
irrational desires and luxury ; while those who followed 
the trades of weavers and shoemakers were permitted 
to labour so far as was required by the necessities, but 
by no means to administer to the vanities of life. Agri- 
culture, the art of building, the trades of a carpenter 
and a smith, were in themselves good, and not to be 
rejected ; but it was to be feared that they might lead 
to a loss of repose, and cause the monks to be much 
separated from each other. Otherwise, agricultural 
occupation was particularly to be recommended ; and it 
was by agriculture that the monks, at a later period, 
so much contributed to the civilisation of the rude 
nations of the West. 

'' The most venerated of the monks were visited by 
men of every class. A weighty word, one of those 
pithy sentiments, uttered by some great monk, of which 
so many have been handed down to us, proceeding 
from the mouth of a man universally respected, and 
supported by the impression which his holy life and 
venerable appearance had created, when spoken at a 
right moment, oftentimes effected more than the long 
and repeated harangues of other men. The children 

of the Catholic Church. 23 

were sent to the monks from the cities to receive their 
blessings ; and on these occasions their minds were 
strewed with the seeds of Christian truth, which took 
deep root. Thus, Theodoret says of the Monk Peter : 
' He often placed me on his knees and fed me with 
bread and grapes ; for my mother, having had ex- 
perience of his spiritual grace, sent me to him once 
every week to receive his blessing.' 

" The duties of education were particularly recom- 
mended to the monks by Basil. They were eujoined 
to take upon themselves voluntarily the education of 
orphans ; the education of other youths when entrusted 
to them by their parents. It was by no means neces- 
sary that these children should become monks ; they 
were, if fitted for it, early instructed in some trade or 
art; and were afterwards at liberty to make a free 
choice of their vocation. The greatest care was be- 
stowed on their religious and moral acquirements. 
Particular houses were appointed, in which they were 
to be brought up under the superintendence of one of 
the oldest and most experienced monks, known for his 
patience and benignity, that their faults might be cor- 
rected with paternal mildness and circumspect wisdom. 
Instead of the mythical tales, passages out of the Holy 
Scriptures, the history of the divine miracles, and 
maxims out of Solomon's Proverbs, were given them 
to learn by heart, that they might be taught in a 
manner at the same time instructive and entertain- 

" The monks of the East greatly contributed to the 
conversion of the heathen, both by their plain, sincere 
discourse, and by the veneration which their lives 

24 Protestajit View 

inspired ; and tlieir simple mode of living rendered it 
' easy for tliem to establish themselves in any place." 

Now, the enemies of monks may call this an ex 
parte statement if they will, — though as coming from 
a Protestant, one does not see with what justice it can 
undergo such an imputation. But that is not the 
point : I am not imposing this view of the Monastic 
Institute on any one : men may call Neander's re- 
presentation ex parte ; they may doubt it, if they will ; 
I only say there are evidently two sides to the question, 
and therefore that the Protestant public, which is quite 
ignorant of more sides than one, and fancies none but 
a knave or a fool can doubt the received Protestant 
tradition on the subject of monks, is, for the very 
reason of its ignorance, first furiously positive that it 
is right, and next singularly likely to be wrong. 

Audi alteram partem^ hear both sides, is generally 
an Englishman's maxim ; but there is one subject on 
which he has intractable prejudices, and resolutely 
repudiates any view but that which is familiar to him 
from his childhood. Rome is his Nazareth ; " Can any 
good come out of Nazareth ?" settles the question with 
him ; happy, rather, if he could be brought to imitate 
the earnest inquirer in the Gospel, who, after urging 
this objection, went on nevertheless to obey the 
invitation which it elicited, " Come and see ! " 


And here I might conclude my subject, which has 
proposed to itself nothing more than to suggest, to 
those whom it concerns, that they would have more 
reason to be confident in their view of the Catholic 

of the Catholic Church. 25 

religion, if it ever had struck them that it needed some 
proof, if there ever had occurred to their minds at least 
the possibility of truth being maligned, and Christ 
being called Beelzebub ; but I am tempted, before 
concluding, to go on to try whether something of a 
monster indictment, similarly frightful and similarly 
fantastical to that which is got up against Catholicism, 
might not be framed against some other institution or 
power, of parallel greatness and excellence, in its 
degree and place, to the communion of Rome. For 
this purpose I will take the British Constitution, which 
is so specially the possession, and so deservedly the 
glory, of our own people ; and in taking it I need 
hardly say, I take it for the very reason that it is so 
rightfully the object of our wonder and veneration. I 
should be but a fool for my pains, if I laboured to 
prove it otherwise ; it is one of the greatest of human 
works, as admirable in its own line, to take the pro- 
ductions of genius in very various departments, as the 
Pyramids, as the wall of China, as the paintings of 
Raffaelle, as the Apollo Belvedere, as the plays of 
Shakespeare, as the N'ewtonian theory, and as the 
exploits of Napoleon. It soars, in its majesty, far above 
the opinions of men, and will be a marvel, almost a 
portent, to the end of time ; but for that very reason it 
is more to my purpose, when I would show you how 
even it, the British Constitution, would fare, when sub- 
mitted to the intellect of Exeter Hall, and handled by 
practitioners, whose highest eflFort at dissection is to 
chop and to mangle. 

I will suppose, then, a speaker, and an audience too, 
who never saw England, never saw a member of par- 

26 Protestant View 

liament, a policeman, a queen, or a London mob ; who 
never read the English history, nor studied any one of 
our philosophers, jurists, moralists, or poets ; but who 
has dipped into Blackstone and several English writers, 
and has picked up facts at third or fourth hand, and 
has got together a crude farrago of ideas, words, and 
instances, a little truth, a deal of falsehood, a deal of 
misrepresentation, a deal of nonsense, and a deal of 
invention. And most fortunately for my purpose, here 
is an account transmitted express by the private cor- 
respondent of a morning paper, of a great meeting held 
about a fortnight since at Moscow, under sanction of 
the Czar, on occasion of an attempt made by one or two 
Russian noblemen to spread British ideas in his capital. 
It seems the emperor thought it best, in the present 
state of men's minds, when secret societies are so rife, 
to put down the movement by argument rather than 
by a military force ; and so he instructed the governor 
of Moscow to connive at the project of a great public 
meeting which should be open to the small faction of 
Anglo-maniacs, or John-Bullists, as they are popularly 
termed, as well as to the mass of the population. As 
many as ten thousand men, as far as the writer could 
calculate, were gathered together in one of the largest 
places of the city ; a number of spirited and impressive 
speeches were made, in all of which, however, was 
illustrated the fable of the " Lion and the Man," the 
man being the Russ, and the lion our old friend the 
British ; but the most successful of all is said to have 
been the final harangue, by a member of a junior branch 
of the Potemkin family, once one of the imperial aides- 
de-camp, who has spent the last thirty years in the 

of the Catholic Church. 27 

wars of the Caucasus. This distinguished veteran, 
wlio has acquired the title of Blood-sucker, from his 
extraordinary gallantry in combat with the Circassian 
tribes, spoke at great length ; and the express contains 
a portion of his highly inflammatory address, of 
which, and of certain consequences which followed it, 
the British minister is said already to have asked an 
explanation of the cabinet of St Petersburg : I tran- 
scribe it as it may be supposed to stand in the morning 
print : — 

The Count began by observing that the events of every 
day, as it came, called on his countrymen more and 
more importunately to choose their side, and to make 
a firm stand against a perfidious power, which arro- 
gantly proclaims that there is nothing like the British 
Constitution in the whole world, and that no country 
can prosper without it ; which is yearly aggrandising 
itself in East, West, and South, which is engaged in 
one enormous conspiracy against all States, and which 
was even aiming at modifying the old institutions of 
the North, and at dressing up the army, navy, legis- 
lature, and executive of his own country in the livery 
of Queen Victoria. " Insular in situation," he ex- 
claimed, " and at the back gate of the world, what has 
John Bull to do with continental matters, or with the 
political traditions of our holy Russia?" And yet 
there were men in that very city who were so far the 
dupes of insidious propagandists and insolent traitors 
to their emperor, as to maintain that England had been 
a civilised country longer than Russia. On the contrary, 
he maintained, and he would shed the last drop of his 

28 Protestant View 

blood in maintaining, that, as for its boasted Constitu- 
tion, it was a crazy, old-fashioned piece of furniture, and 
an eyesore in the nineteenth century, and would not 
last a dozen years. He had the best information for 
saying so. He could understand those who had never 
crossed out of their island, listening to the songs about 
"Rule Britannia," and "iJos^f/"," and " Poor Jack," 
and the " Old English Gentleman; " he understood and 
he pitied them ; but that Russians, that the conquerors 
of Napoleon, that the heirs of a paternal government, 
should bow the knee, and kiss the hand, and walk back- 
wards, and perform other antics before the face of a 
limited monarch, this was the incomprehensible foolery 
which certain Russians had viewed with so much ten- 
derness. He repeated, there were in that city educated 
men, who had openly professed a reverence for the 
atheistical tenets and fiendish maxims of John-BuUism. 
Here the speaker was interrupted by one or two 
murmurs of dissent, and a foreigner, supposed to be a 
partner in a Scotch firm, was observed in the extremity 
of the square making earnest attempts to obtain a hear- 
ing. He was put down, however, amid enthusiastic 
cheering, and the Count proceeded with a warmth of 
feeling which increased the efifect of the terrible in- 
vective which followed. He said he had used the words 
" atheistical" and "fiendish" most advisedly, and he 
would give his reasons for doing so. What was to be 
said to any political power which claimed the attribute of 
Divinity ? Was any term too strong for such a usurpa- 
tion ? Now, no one would deny Antichrist would be 
such a power ; an Antichrist was contemplated, was 
predicted in Scripture, it was to come in the last times, 

of the Catholic Church. 29 

it was to grow slowly, it was to manifest itself warily and 
craftily, and then to have a mouth speaking great things 
against the Divinity and against His attributes. This 
prediction was most literally and exactly fulfilled in the 
British Constitution. Antichrist was not only to usurp, 
but to profess to usurp the arms of heaven — he was to 
arrogate its titles. This was the special mark of the 
beast, and where was it fulfilled but in John-Bullism ? 
" I hold in my hand," continued the speaker, " a book 
which I have obtained under very remarkable circum- 
stances. It is not known to the British people, it is 
circulated only among the lawyers, merchants, and 
aristocracy, and its restrictive use is secured only by 
the most solemn oaths, the most fearful penalties, and 
the utmost vigilance of the police. I procured it after 
many years of anxious search by the activity of an 
agent, and the co-operation of an English bookseller, 
and it cost me an enormous sum to make it my own. 
It is called ' Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws 
of England,' and I am happy to make known to the 
universe its odious and shocking mysteries, known to 
few Britons, and certainly not known to the deluded 
persons whose vagaries have been the occasion of this 
meeting. I am sanguine in thinking that when they 
come to know the real tenets of John Bull, they 
will at once disown his doctrines with horror, and 
break ofi" all connection with his adherents. 

" Now, I should say, gentlemen, that this book, 
while it is confined to certain classes, is of those classes, 
on the other hand, of judges, and lawyers, and privy 
councillors, and justices of the peace, and police 
magistrates, and clergy, and country gentlemen, the 

30 Protestant View 

guide, and I may say, the gospel. I open the hook, 
gentlemen, and what are the first words which meet 
my eyes ? ' The King can do no wrong,'' I beg you 
to attend, gentlemen, to this most significant assertion ; 
one was accustomed to think that no child of man had 
the gift of impeccability; one had imagined that, 
simply speaking, impeccability was a divine attribute ; 
but this British Bible, as I may call it, distinctly 
ascribes an absolute sinlessness to the King of Great 
Britain and Ireland. Observe, I am using no words 
of my own, I am still but quoting what meets my eyes 
in this remarkable document. The words run thus : 
* It is an axiom of the law of the land that the King 
himself can do no wrong.'' Was I wrong, then, in 
speaking of the atheistical maxims of John-Bullism ? 
But this is far from all : the writer goes on actually 
to ascribe to the Sovereign (I tremble while I pro- 
nounce the words) absolute perfection ; for he speaks 
thus : ' The law ascribes to the King in his political 
capacity absolute perfection; the King can do no 
wrong ! ' — (groans). One had thought that no human 
power could thus be described ; but the British legis- 
lature, judicature, and jurisprudence, have had the 
unspeakable effrontery to impute to their crowned and 
sceptred idol, to their doll," — ^liere cries of " shame, 
shame," from the same individual who had dis- 
tinguished himself in an earlier part of the speech — 
" to this doll, this puppet whom they have dressed up 
with a lion and a unicorn, the attribute of absolute 
perfection!" Here the individual who had several 
times interrupted the speaker sprung up, in spite of 
the efforts of persons about him to keep him down, 

of the Catholic Church. 31 

and cried out, as far as liis words could be collected, 
" You cowardly liar, our dear, good little Queen," when 
he was immediately saluted with a cry of " Turn him 
out," and soon made his exit from the meeting. 

Order being restored, the Count continued : " Gentle- 
men, I could wish you would have suffered this emissary 
of a foreign potentate (immense cheering), who is 
insidiously aiming at forming a political party among 
us, to have heard to the end that black catalogue of 
charges against his Sovereign, which as yet I have 
barely commenced. Gentlemen, I was saying that the 
Queen of England challenges the divine attribute of 
ABSOLUTE PERFECTION ! but, as if this were not enough, 
this Blackstone continues, ' The King, moreover, is 
not only incapable of doing wrong, but even of thinking 
wrong ! ! he can never do an improper thing ; in him is 
no FOLLY or WEAKNESS ! ! ! ' " (Shudders and cheers 
from the vast assemblage, which lasted alternately 
some minutes.) At the same time a respectably 
dressed gentleman below the platform begged per- 
mission to look at the book ; it was immediately handed 
to him ; after looking at the passages, he was observed 
to inspect carefully the title-page and binding; he 
then returned it without a word. 

The Count, in resuming his speech, observed that 
he courted and challenged investigation, he should be 
happy to answer any question, and he hoped soon to 
publish, by subscription, a translation of the work, 
from which he had been quoting. Then, resuming 
the subject where he had left it, he made some most 
forcible and impressive reflections on the miserable 
state of those multitudes, who, in Si3ite of their skill 

3'2 Protestant View 

in the mechanical arts, and their political energy, were 
in the leading-strings of so foul a superstition. The 
passage he had quoted was the first and mildest of a 
series of blasphemies so prodigious, that he really 
feared to proceed, not only from disgust at the neces- 
sity of uttering them, but lest he should be taxing the 
faith of his hearers beyond what appeared reasonable 
limits. Next, then, he drew attention to the point, 
that the English Sovereign distinctly claimed, accord- 
ing to the same infamous work, to be the ^^ fount of 
justice ; " and, that there might be no mistake in the 
matter, the author declared, " that she is never bound 
injustice to do anything.'''' What, then, is her method 
of acting? Unwilling as he was to defile his- lips 
with so profane a statement, he must tell them that 
this abominable writer coolly declared that the Queen, 
a woman, only did acts of reparation and restitution 
as a matter of grace! He was not a theologian, he 
had spent his life in the field, but he knew enough of 
his religion to be able to say that grace was a word 
especially proper to the appointment and decrees of 
Divine Sovereignty. All his hearers knew perfectly 
well that nature was one thing, grace another ; and 
yet here was a poor child of clay claiming to be the 
fount, not only of justice, but of grace. She was 
making herself a first cause of not merely natural, 
but spiritual excellence, and doing nothing more or 
less than simply emancipating herself from her Maker. 
The Queen, it seemed, never obeyed the law on com- 
pulsion, according to Blackstone ; that is, her Maker 
could not compel her. This was no mere deduction of 
his own, as directly would be seen. Let it be observed, 

of the Catholic Chtirch. -^-^ 

the Apostle called the predicted Antichrist "the 
wicked one," or, as it might be more correctly trans- 
lated, " the lawless," because he was to be the proud 
despiser of all law;. now, wonderful to say, this was 
the very assumption of the British Parliament. " The 
power of Parliament," said Sir Edward Coke, "is so 
transcendent and absolute, that it cannot be confined 
within any bounds ! I It has sovereign and uncon- 
trollable authority ! ! Moreover, the Judges had de- 
clared, that " it is so high and mighty in its nature, 
that it may make law, and that which is law it may 
MAKE NO LAW ! " Here verily was the mouth speaking 
great things ; but there was more behind, which, but 
for the atrocious sentiments he had already admitted 
into his mouth, he really should not have the courage, 
the endurance to utter. It was sickening to the soul, 
and intellect, and feelings of a Ptuss, to form the words 
on his tongue, and the ideas in his imagination. He 
would say what must be said as quickly as he could, 
and without comment. The gallant speaker then de- 
livered the following passage from Blackstone's volume, 
in a very distinct and articulate whisper : " Some have 
not scrupled to call its power — the Ojinipotence of 
Parliament !" No one can conceive the thrilling effect 
of these words ; they were heard all over the immense 
assemblage ; every man turned pale ; a dead silence 
followed ; one might have heard a pin drop. A pause 
of some minutes followed. 

The speaker continued, evidently labouring under 
intense emotion : — " Have you not heard enough, my 
dear compatriots, of this hideous system of John-Bul- 
lism? was I wrong in using the words fiendish and 


34 Protestant View 

atheistical when I entered upon this subject? and need 
I proceed further with blasphemous details, which can- 
not really add to the monstrous bearing of the passages 
I have already read to you ? If the Queen ' cannot do 
wrong,' if she ' cannot even think wrong,' if she is ' ab- 
solute perfection,' if she has ' no folly, no weakness,' if 
she is the ' fount of justice,' if she is ' the fount of 
grace,' if she is simply ' above law,' if she is ' omnipo- 
tent,' what wonder that the lawyers of John-Bullism 
should also call her ' sacred ! ' what wonder that they 
should speak of her as ' majesty ! ' what wonder that 
they should speak of her as a ' superior being ! ' Here 
again I am using the words of the book I hold in my 
hand. ' The people ' (my blood runs cold while I repeat 
them) ' are led to consider their Sovereign in the light 
of a SUPEEIOE BEING. ' Evcry one is under him,' says 
Bracton, ' and he is under no one.' Accordingly, the 
law-books call him ' Vicarius Dei in terra,' ' the Vicar 
of God on earth ; ' a most astonishing fulfilment, you 
observe, of the prophecy, for Antichrist is a Greek 
word, which means ' Vicar of Christ.' What wonder, 
under these circumstances, that Queen Elizabeth, 
assuming the attribute of the Creator, once said to one 
of her Bishops : ' Proud Prelate, I made you, and I can 
unmake you ! ' What, wonder that James the First had 
the brazen assurance to say, that ' As it is atheism and 
blasphemy in a creature to dispute the Deity, so it is 
presumption and sedition in a subject to dispute a King 
in the height of his power ! ' Moreover, his subjects 
called him the ' breath of their nostrils ; ' and my Lord 
Clarendon, the present Lord Lieutenant of L-eland, in 
his celebrated History of the Rebellion, declares that 

of the Catholic Church. 35 

the same haughty monarch actually on one occasion 
called himself ' a god ; ' and in his great legal digest, 
commonly called the ' Constitutions of Clarendon,' he 
gives us the whole account of the king's banishing the 
Archbishop, St Thomas of Canterbury, for refusing to 
do him homage. Lord Bacon, too, went nearly as far 
when he called him * Deaster quidam,' ' some sort of 
little god.' Alexander Pope, too, calls Queen Anne a 
goddess ; and Addison, with a servility only equalled 
by his profaneness, cries out, ' Thee, goddess, thee 
Britannia's isle adores.' Nay, even at this very time, 
when public attention has been drawn to the subject. 
Queen Victoria causes herself to be represented on her 
coins as the goddess of the seas, with a pagan trident 
in her hand. 

" Gentlemen, can it surprise you to be told, after 
such an exposition of the blasphemies of England, that, 
astonishing to say. Queen Victoria is distinctly pointed 
out in the Book of Revelations as having the number of 
the beast! You may recollect that number is 666; 
now, she came to the throne in the year thirty-seven, 
at which date she was eighteen years old. Multiply 
then 37 by 18, and you have the very number 666, which 
is the mystical emblem of the lawless King ! ! ! 

" No wonder, then, with such monstrous pretensions, 
and such awful auguries, that John-Bullism is, in act 
and deed, as savage and profligate, as in profession it 
is saintly and innocent. Its annals are marked with 
blood and corruption. The historian Hallam, though 
one of the ultra-bullist party, in his Constitutional 
History, admits that the English tribunals are ' dis- 
graced by the brutal manners and iniquitous partiality 

3 6 Profesiani Vuzu 

of the bench.' ' The general behaviour of the bench,* 
he says, elsewhere, '■ has covered it with infamy.' Soon 
after, he tells us that the dominant foction inflicted on 
the High Church Clergy ' the disgrace and remorse of 
perjury.' The English Kings have been the curse and 
shame of human nature. Richard the First boasted 
that the evil spirit was the father of his family; of 
Henry the Second, St Bernard said, ' From the devil he 
came, and to the devil he will go ; ' William the Second 
was killed by the enemy of man, to whom he had sold 
himself, while hunting in one of his forests ; Henry the 
First died of eating lampreys ; John died of eating 
peaches ; Clarence, a king's brother, was drowned in a 
butt of malmsey wine ; Richard the Third put to death 
his Sovereign, his Sovereign's son, his two brothers, his 
wife, two nephews, and half a dozen friends. Henry the 
Eighth sticcessively married and murdered no less than 
six hundred women. I quote the words of the ' Edin- 
burgh Review,' that, according to Hollinshed, no less 
than 70,000 persons died under the hand of the execu- 
tioner in his reign. Sir John Fortescue tells us that 
in his day there were more persons executed for robbery 
in England in one year, than in France in seven. Four 
hundred persons a year were executed in the reign of 
Queen Elizabeth. Even so late as the last century, in 
spite of the continued protests of foreign nations, in the 
course of seven years there were 428 capital convictions 
in London alone. Burning of children, too, is a favour- 
ite punishment with John Btill, as may be seen in this 
same Blackstone, who notices the burning of a girl of 
thirteen given by Sir Matthew Hale. The valets always 
assassinate their masters ; lovers uniformly strangle 

of the Catholic Chiwch. 37 

their sweettearts ; the farmers and the farmers' wives 
universally beat their apprentices to death ; and their 
lawyers in the inns of court strip and starve their ser- 
vants, as has appeared from remarkable investigations 
in the law courts during the last year. Husbands sell 
their wives by public auction with a rope round their 
necks. An intelligent Frenchman, ]^L Pellet, who 
visited London in 1815, deposes that he saw a number of 
sculls on each side of the river Thames, and he was told 
they were found especially thick at the landing-places 
among the watermen. But why multiply instances, 
when the names of those two-legged tigers. Rush, 
Thistlewood, Thurtell, the Mannings, Colonel Kirke, 
Claverhouse, Simon de Montefort, Strafford, the Duke 
of Cumberland, Warren Hastings, and Judge Jeffreys, 
are household words all over the earth? John-Bullism, 
through a space of 800 years, is semper idem, unchange- 
able in evil. One hundred and sixty offences are punish- 
able with death. It is death to live with gipsies for 
a month ; and Lord Hale mentions thirteen persons as 
having, in his day, suffered death thereon at one as- 
size. It is death to steal a sheep, death to rob a warren, 
death to steal a letter, death to steal a handkerchief, 
death to cut down a cherry-tree. And, after all, the 
excesses of John-Bullism at home are mere child's play 
to the oceans of blood it has shed abroad. It has been 
the origin of all the wars which have desolated Europe ; 
it has fomented national jealousy, and the antipathy of 
castes in every part of the world ; it has plunged 
flourishing states into the abyss of revolution. The 
Crusades, the Sicilian Vespers, the wars of the Refor- 
mation, the thirty years' war, the war of succession. 

38 Protestant View 

the seven years' war, the American war, the French 
Revolution, all are simply owing to John-Bull ideas ; 
and, to take one definite instance, in the course of the 
last war, the deaths of two millions of the human race 
lie at his door ; for the Whigs themselves, from first to 
last, and down to this day, admit and proclaim, with- 
out any hesitation or limitation, that that war was 
simply and entu-ely the work of John-Bullism, and 
needed not, and would not have been, but for its in- 
fluence, and its alone. 

" Such is that ' absolute perfection, without folly and 
without weakness,' which, revelling in the blood of 
man, is still seeking out her victims, and scenting 
blood all over the earth. It is that woman Jezebel, 
who fulfils the prophetic vision, and incurs the pro- 
phetic denunciation. And, strange to say, a prophet 
of her own has not scrupled to apply to her that very 
appellation. Dead to good and evil, the children of 
Jezebel glory in the name ; and ten years have not 
passed since, by a sort of infatuation, one of the very 
highest Tories in the land, a minister, too, of the 
established religion, hailed the blood-stained Monarchy 
under the very title of the mystical sorceress. Jezebel 
surely is her name, and Jezebel is her nature ; for, 
drunk with the spiritual wine-cup of wrath, and given 
over to believe a lie, at length she has ascended to 
heights which savour rather of madness than of pride ; 
she babbles absurdities, and she thirsts for impossi- 
bilities. Gentlemen, I am speaking the words of sober 
seriousness ; I can prove what I say to the letter ; the 
extravagance is not in me, but in the object of my de- 
nunciation. Once more I appeal to the awful volume I 

of the Catholic Church. 39 

liold in my hands. I appeal to it, I open it, I cast it from 
me. Listen, then, once again ; it is a fact ; Jezebel has 
declared her own omnipresence. ' A consequence of the 
royal prerogatives,' says the antichristian author, ' is the 
legal UBIQUITY of the King ! ' ' His Majesty is always 
■present in all his courts : his judges are the mirror by 
which the King's image is reflected ; ' and further, 
' From this ubiquity ' (you see he is far from shrinking 
from the word), ' from this ubiquity it follows that the 
Sovereign can never be nonsuit ! ! ' Gentlemen, the 
sun would set before I told you one hundredth part of 
the enormity of this child of Moloch and Belial. 
Inebriated with the cup of insanity, and flung upon 
the stream of recklessness, she dashes down the 
cataract of nonsense, and whirls amid the pools of con- 
fusion. Like the Roman emperor, she actually has de- 
clared herself immortal ! she has declared her eternity ! 
Again, I am obliged to say it, these are no words of 
mine ; the tremendous sentiment confronts me in black 
and crimson characters in this diabolical book. ' In 
the law,' says Blackstone, ' the Sovereign is said never 
to die ! ' Again, with still more hideous expressive- 
ness, ' The law ascribes to the Sovereign an absolute 


" And now, gentlemen, your destiny is in your own 
hands. If you are willing to succumb to a power which 
has never been contented with what she was, but has 
been for centuries extending her conquests in both 
hemispheres, then the humble individual who has ad- 
dressed you will submit to the necessary consequence ; 
will resume his military dress, and return to the 
Caucasus ; but if, on the other hand, as I believe, you 

40 Protestant View 

are resolved to resist iinflinchingly this flood of satani- 
cal imposture and foul ambition, and force it back into 
the ocean ; if, not from hatred to the English — far 
from it — from love to them (for a distinction must ever 
be drawn between the nation and its dominant John- 
Bullism) ; if, I say, from love to them as brothers, from 
a generous determination to fight their battles, from an 
intimate consciousness that they are in their secret 
hearts Russians, that they are champing the bit of 
their iron lot, and are longing for you as their de- 
liverers ; if, from these lofty notions, as Tell as from a 
burning patriotism, you will form the high resolve to 
annihilate this dishonour of humanity ; if you loathe 
its sophisms, ' De minimis non curat lex,' and 
* Malitia supplet eetatem,' and ' Tres faciunt collegium,' 
and ' Impotentia excusat legem,' and ' Possession is 
nine parts of the law,' and 'The greater the truth, the 
greater the libel' — principles which sap the very foun- 
dations of morals ; if you wage war to the knife with 
its blighting superstitions of primogeniture, gavelkind, 
mortmain, and contingent remainders ; if you detest, 
abhor, and abjure the tortuous maxims and perfidious 
provisions of its habeas corpus, quare imp edit, and qui 
tarn (hear, hear) ; if you scorn the mummeries of its 
wigs, and bands, and coifs, and ermine (vehement 
cheering) ; if you trample and spit upon its accursed 
fee simple and fee tail, villanage, and free soccage, 
fiefs, heriots, seizins, feuds (a burst of cheers, the 
whole meeting in commotion) ; its shares, its premiums, 
its post-obits, its percentages, its tarifis, its broad and 
narrow gauge " — Here the chfeers became frantic, and 
drowned the speaker's voice, and a most extraordinary 

of the Catholic Church. 41 

scene of enthusiasm followed. One half the meeting 
was seen embracing the other half; till, as if by the 
force of a sudden resolution, they all poured out of the 
square, and proceeded to break the windows of all the 
British residents. They then formed into procession, 
and directing their course to the great square before 
the Kremlin, they dragged through the mud, and then 
solemnly burnt, an effigy of John Bull which had 
been provided beforehand by the managing committee, 
a lion and unicorn, and a Queen Victoria. These 
being fully consumed, they dispersed quietly ; and by 
ten o'clock at night the streets were profoundly still, 
and the silver moon looked down in untroubled lustre 
on the city of the Czars. 

Now, my Brothers of the Oratory, I protest to you 
my full conviction that I have not caricatured this 
parallel at all. Were I, indeed, skilled in legal 
matters, I could have made it far more natural, 
plausible, and complete ; but, as for its extravagance, I 
say deliberately, and have means of knowing what I 
say, having once been a Protestant, and being now 
a Catholic — knowing what is said and thought of 
Catholics, on the one hand, and, on the other, knowing 
what they really are — I deliberately assert that no 
absurdities contained in the above sketch can equal, 
nay, that no conceivable absurdities can surpass, the 
absurdities which are firmly believed of Catholics by 
sensible, kind-hearted, well-intentioned Protestants. 
Such is the consequence of having looked at things all 
on one side, and shutting the eyes to the other. 



pONSIDEEING, what is as undeniable a fact as that 
there is a country called France, or an ocean called 
the Atlantic, the actual extent, the renown, and the 
manifold influence of the Catholic Religion, — con- 
sidering that it surpasses in territory and in population 
any other Christian communion, nay, surpasses all 
others put together, — considering that it is the religion 
of two hundred millions of souls, that it is found in 
every quarter of the globe, that it penetrates into all 
classes of the social body, that it is received by entire 
nations, that it is so multiform in its institutions, and 
so exuberant in its developments, and so fresh in its 
resources, as any tolerable knowledge of it will be sure 
to bring home to our minds, — that it has been the 
creed of intellects the most profound and the most re- 
fined, and the source of works the most beneficial, the 
most arduous, and the most beautiful, — and, moreover, 
considering that, thus ubiquitous, thus commanding, 
thus philosophical, thus energetic, thus efficient, it has 
remained one and the same for centuries, — considering 
that all this must be owned by its most virulent 
enemies, explain it how they will ; sm-ely it is a 

Tradition the Sustaining Power, &c. 43 

phenomenon the most astounding, that a nation like 
our own should so manage to hide this fact from their 
minds, to intercept their own vision of it, as habitually 
to scorn, and ridicule, and abhor the professors of that 
Religion, as being, from the nature of the case, ignorant, 
unreasoning, superstitious, base, and grovelling. It is 
familiar to an Englishman to wonder at and to pity the 
recluse and the devotee who surround themselves with 
a high enclosure, and shut out what is on the other 
side of it ; but was there ever such an instance of self- 
sufficient, dense, and ridiculous bigotry, as that which 
rises up and walls in the minds of our fellow-countrymen 
from all knowledge of one of the most remarkable 
phenomena which the history of the world has seen ? 
This broad fact of Catholicism — as real as the continent 
of America, or the Milky "Way — which Englishmen 
cannot deny, they will not entertain ; they shut their 
eyes, they thrust their heads into the sand, and try to 
get rid of a great vision, a great reality, under the name 
of Popery. They drop a thousand years from the world's 
chronicle, and having steeped them thoroughly in sin and 
idolatry, would fain drown them in oblivion. Whether 
for philosophic remark or for historical research, they 
will not recognise, what infidels recognise as well as 
Catholics, the vastness, the grandeur, the splendour, the 
loveliness of the manifestations of this time-honoured 
ecclesiastical confederation. Catholicism is for fifteen 
hundred years as much a fact, and as great a one (to 
put it on the lowest ground) as is the imperial sway 
of Great Britain for a hundred ; how can it then be actu- 
ally imbecile or extravagant to believe in it and to join it, 
even granting it were an error ? But this island, as far 

44 Tradition the Sustaining Power 

as religion is concerned, really must be called one large 
convent, or rather ■workhouse; the old pictures hang 
on the walls ; the world-wide Church is chalked up on 
every side as a wivern or a griffin ; no pure gleam of 
light finds its way in from without ; the thick atmo- 
sphere refracts and distorts such straggling rays as gain 
admittance. Why, it is not even a camera obscura ; 
cut off from Christendom though it be, at least it might 
have a true picture of that Christendom cast in minia- 
ture upon its floor ; but in this inquisitive age, when 
the Alps are crested, and seas fathomed, and mines 
ransacked, and sands sifted, and rocks cracked into 
specimens, and beasts caught and catalogued, as little 
is known by Englishmen of the religious sentiments, the 
religious usages, the religious motives, the religious ideas 
of two hundred millions of Christians poured to and fro, 
among them and around them, as if, I will not say, they 
were Tartars or Patagonians, but as if they inhabited the 
moon. Verily, were the Catholic Church in the moon, 
England would gaze on her with more patience, and de- 
lineate her with more accuracy, than England does now. 
This phenomenon is what I in part brought before 
you in my last Lecture : I said we were thought dupes 
and rogues, because we were not known ; because our 
countrymen would not be at the pains, or could not 
stand the shock of realising that there are two sides 
to every question, and that in this particular question, 
perhaps, they had taken the false side. And this 
evening I am proceeding to the inquiry how, in a cen- 
tury of lightj when we have re-written our grammars, 
and revolutionised our chronology, all this can possibly 
come to pass ; how it is that the old family picture of 

of the Protestant View, 45 

the Man and the Lion keeps its place, though all the 
rest of John Bull's furniture has been condemned and 
has been replaced. Alas ! that he should be inspecting 
the silks, and the china, and the jewellery of East and 
West, but refuse to bestow a like impartial examina- 
tion on the various forms of Christianity ! 


Now, if I must give the main and proximate cause 
of this remarkable state of mind, I must simply say 
ihat Englishmen go by that very mode of information 
in its worst shape, which they are so fond of imputing 
against Catholics; they go by tradition^ immemorial, 
unauthenticated tradition. I have no wish to make a 
rhetorical point, or to dress up a polemical argument. 
I wish you to investigate the matter philosophically, 
and to come to results which, not you only. Brothers 
of the Oratory, who are Catholics, but all sensible men, 
will perceive to be just and true. I say, then, English- 
men entertain their present monstrous notions of us, 
mainly because those notions are received on informa- 
tion, not authenticated, but immemorial. This it is 
that makes them entertain those notions ; they talk 
much of free inquiry; but towards us they do not 
dream of practising it ; they have been taught what 
they hold, in the nursery, in the school-room, in the 
lecture-class, from the pulpit, from the newspaper, in 
society. Each man teaches the other: " How do you 
know it?" "Because he told me." "And how 
does he know it?" "Because I told him;'" ov, at 
very best advantage, " We both know it, because it 
was so said when we were young ; because no one ever 

46 Tradition the Sustaining Power 

said the contrary ; because I recollect what a noise, 
when I was young, the Catholic Relief Bill made ; 
because my father and the old clergyman said so, and 
Lord Eldon, and George the Third ; and there was Mr 
Pitt obliged to give up office, and Lord George Gordon, 
long before that, made a riot, and the Catholic Chapels 
were burned down all over the country." Well, these 
are your grounds for knowing it ; and how did those 
energetic Protestants whom you have mentioned know it 
themselves ? Why, they were told by others before them, 
and those others by others again a great time back ; 
and there the telling and teaching is lost in fog: and 
this is mainly what has to be said for the anti- Catholic 
notions in question. Now this is to believe on tradition. 
Take notice, my Brothers, I am not reprobating the 
proper use of tradition ; it has its legitimate place and 
its true service. By tradition is meant, what has ever 
been held, as far as we know, though we do not know 
how it came to be held, and for that very reason think 
it true, because else it would not be held. Now, 
tradition is of great and legitimate use as an initial 
means of gaining notions about historical and other 
facts ; it is the way in which things first come to us ; 
it is natural and necessary to trust it; it is an in- 
formant we make use of daily. Life is not long enough 
for proving everything ; we are obliged to take a great 
many things upon the credit of others. Moreover, 
tradition is really a ground in reason, an argument for 
believing, to a certain point ; but then, observe, we do 
not commonly think it right and safe, on the score of 
mere vague testimony, to keep our eyes and ears so 
very closely shut against every other evidence, every 

of the Protestant View. 47 

otter means of proof, and to be so furiously certain and 
so energetically positive that we know all about the 
matter in question. No ; we open our senses wide to 
what may be said on the other side. We make use of 
tradition, but we are not content with it ; it is enough 
to begin with, not enough to finish upon. 

Tradition, then, being information, not authenticated, 
but immemorial, is a prima facie evidence of the facts 
which it witnesses. It is sufiicient to make us take 
a thing for granted, in default of real proof; it is 
sufficient for our having an opinion about it ; it is 
sufficient often to make us feel it to be safest to act in 
a certain way under circumstances ; it is not sufficient 
in reason to make us sure^ much less to make us angry 
with those who take a different view of the matter. 
It is not sufficient to warrant us to dispense with proof 
the other way, if it be ofiered to us. Supposing, for 
instance, there was a general belief or impression in 
England, running up beyond the memory of man, 
though unsupported by any distinct evidence, that the 
composer Tallis was the author of the Protestant 
Hundredth Psalm tune, or that Charles the Second 
was poisoned, or that Bishop Butler of Durham died 
a Catholic, I consider we certainly should have ac- 
quiesced in the tradition, taken it for granted, and 
made it our own, as long as it was our only means of 
forming an opinion on the respective points in question. 
We should have thought the fact to be such, while 
there was nothing to set against it. Nor would any 
other course have been reasonable. But, supposing, in 
contravention of these traditions, a manuscript of the 
Psalm tune in question was found in some Grerman 

48 Tradition the Sustaining Power 

library, in the handwriting of Luther ; or supposing 
a statement existed purporting to be drawn up by- 
Charles's medical attendants, accounting for his death, 
and attributing it, with all appearance of truth, to 
some natural complaint; or, again, supposing his 
death was imputed to a very unlikely person. Bishop 
Ken, or Mr Evelyn ; or supposing Butler's chaplain 
had left an account of his last hours, from which it 
was demonstrable that up to the last day of his life he 
was a Protestant; should we passionately reject, or 
superciliously make light of this separate evidence, 
because we were content with our tradition ? or, if we 
were tempted to do so, could we possibly defend our 
conduct in reason, or recommend it to another? Surely, 
it would be as extravagant to refuse the presumptions 
or the evidence oifered us in the second place, as to 
refuse the tradition in the first. Thus, a tradition 
being an anonymous informant, is of force only under 
the proviso that it cannot be plausibly disputed. 

I am speaking of a single or solitary tradition ; for 
if there be two or three distinct traditions, all saying 
the same thing, then it is a very different matter : then, 
as in the case of two or three independent witnesses in 
a judicial proceeding, there is at once a cumulation of 
evidence, and its joint effect is very great. Thus, sup- 
posing, besides the current belief in England, there was a 
local tradition, in some out of the way district in Ireland, 
to the effect that a certain family had gained its estates 
in reward for the share which its ancestor had in the 
assassination of Charles the Second, we should cer- 
tainly consider it at least a singular coincidence ; for 
it would be a second tradition, and if proved to be dis- 

of the Protestant View. 49 

tluct and independent, would quite alter tlie influence 
of the first upon our minds, just as two witnesses at a 
trial produce an effect on judge and jury simply dif- 
ferent from what either of them would produce by him- 
self. And in this way a multiplication of traditions 
may make a wonderfully strong proof, strong enough 
even for a person to die for, rather than consent to 
deny the fact attested ; and, therefore, strong enough 
in reason for him to be very positive upon, very much 
excited, very angry, and very determined. But when 
such strong feeling and pertinacity of purpose are 
created by a mere single and solitary tradition, I can- 
not call that state of mind conviction, but prejudice. 

Yet this, I must maintain, is the sort of ground on 
which Protestants are so certain that the Catholic 
Church is a simple monster of iniquity. If you asked 
the first person you met why he believed that our religion 
was so baneful and odious, he would not say, "I have 
had good proofs of it; " or, " I know Catholics too well to 
doubt it ; " or, '' I am well read in history^ and I can vouch 
for it ; " or, "I have lived such a long time in Catholic 
countries, I ought to know ; " — (of course, I do not 
mean that no one would make such a reply, but I mean 
that it would not be the reply of the mass of men ; far 
from it). No ; single out a man from the multitude, 
and he would say something of this sort : "I am sure 
it is ;" he will look significant, and say, " You will find 
it a hard job to make me think otherwise ; " or he will 
look wise, and say, " I can make a pretty good guess 
how things go on among you;" or he will be angry, 
and cry out, " Those fellows, the priests, I would not 
believe them, though they swore themselves black in tlie 


50 Tradition the Sustaining Power 

face ; " or lie will speak loudly, and overbear and drown 
all remonstrance : " It is too notorious for proof; every 
one knows it ; every book says it ; it has been so ruled 
long ago. It is rather too much in the nineteenth cen- 
tury to be told to begin history again, and to have to 
reverse our elementary facts." That is, in other words, 
the multitude of men hate Catholicism mainly on tra- 
dition, there being few, indeed, who have made fact and 
argument the primary or the supplemental grounds of 
their aversion to it. And observe, they hate it on a 
single, isolated tradition, not a complex, conclusive 
tradition — not the united tradition of many places. It 
is true, indeed, that Holland, and Geneva, and Prussia, 
each has its own tradition against the Catholic Church ; 
but our countrymen do in no sense believe, from any 
judgment they form on those united British and foreign 
traditions, but from the tradition of their own nation 
alone ; which, though certainly it comprises millions of 
souls, nevertheless is so intimately one by the continual 
intercourse and mutual communication of part with part, 
that it cannot with any fairness be considered to contain 
a number of separate testimonies, but only one. Yet 
this meagre evidence, I say, suffices to produce in the 
men of this generation an enthusiastic, undoubting, 
and energetic persuasion that we torture heretics, im- 
mure nuns, sell licences to sin, and are plotting against 
kings and governments; all, I say, because this was 
said of Catholics when they were boys. It is the old 
heirloom, the family picture, which is at once their 
informant and their proof. 

Nor is this phenomenon, remarkable as it is, without 
its parallel in former passages of the world's history. We 

of the Protestant View. 5 1 

have a notable instance in Holy Writ ; to wliicli I hope 
I may allude without risking a theological discussion. 
"We read there of certain parties animated with extreme 
religious bitterness, simply on the incentive, and for 
the defence, of traditions which were absolutely worth- 
less. The popular party in Judea, at the Christian era, 
were the dupes of a teaching, professing, indeed, the 
authority of their forefathers, or what they called " the 
tradition of the ancients ; " but, in reality, nothing 
more or less than the " commandment and tradition of 
men ; " of fallible men, nay, not only deceivable, but 
actually deceived men. This was the fatal flaw in their 
argument ; the tradition might have been kept ever so 
accurately and religiously, it might with full certainty 
have been derived from the foregoing generation, and 
have existed beyond the furthest memory; but this 
proved nothing while it was traceable up to man^ not 
to a divine informant, as its ultimate resolution or first 
origin. The stream cannot rise higher than its source ; 
if the wellspring of the tradition be human, not divine, 
what profits its fidelity? Such as is the primary 
authority, so will be the continuous, the latest deriva- 
tion. And this, accordingly, was the judgment pro- 
nounced in the instance to which I have alluded, on 
both the doctrine and its upholders. " In vain do they 
worship Me, teaching doctrines and commandments of 
men.'''' As is the origin, so is the tradition ; when the 
origin is true, the tradition will be true; when the 
origin is false, the tradition will be false. There can 
most surely be true traditions, that is, traditions from 
true sources ; but such traditions, though they really 
be true, do not profess to prove themselves ; they come 

5 2 Ti^adition the SiLstaming Power 

accompanied by other arguments : the true traditions 
of Divine Revelation are proved to be true by miracle, 
by prophecy, by the test of cumulative and collateral 
evidences, which directly warrant and verify them. 
Such were not the traditions of the Pharisee — they 
jDrofessed to speak for themselves, they bore witness 
to themselves, they were their own evidence; and, 
as might have been expected, they were not trust- 
worthy — they were mere frauds; they came, indeed, 
down the stream of time, but that was no recommenda- 
tion, it only put the fraud up higher ; it might make 
it venerable, it could not make it true. 

Yet it is remarkable, I say, how positive and fanatical 
the Jewish people was in its maintenance of these lies. 
It was irritated, nay, maddened, at hearing them 
denounced ; rose up fiercely against their denouncers ; 
and thought they did God service in putting them to 
death. It is plain, then, that a popular feeling is not 
necessarily logical because it is strong. 

Now, of course, a great number of persons will not 
easily allow the fact, that the English animosity against 
Catholicism is founded on nothing more argumentative 
than tradition ; but, whether I shall succeed in proving 
this point or not, I think I have at least shown already 
that tradition is, in itself, quite a sufficient explanation 
of the feeling. I am not assigning a trifling and inade- 
quate cause to so great an effect. If the Jews could be 
induced to put to death the Founder of our Religion and 
His disciples on tradition, there is nothing ridiculous 
in saying that the British scorn and hatred of Catho- 
licism may be created by tradition also. The great 
question is, the matter of fact, is tradition the cause ? 

of the Protestant View. 53 

I say it is ; and in saying so, observe, I am speaking 
of the multitude, not dwelling on exceptions, however 
numerous in themselves ; for doubtless there is a cer- 
tain number of men, men of thought and reading, who 
oppose Catholicism, not merely on tradition, but on 
better arguments ; but, I repeat, I am speaking of the 
great mass of Protestants. Again, bear in mind, I am 
speaking of what really is the fact, not of what the 
mass of Protestants will confess. Of course no man 
will admit, if he can help it, even to himself, that he 
is taking his views of the Catholic Church from Bishop 
Newton, or buckling on his sword against her preachers, 
merely because Lord George Gordon did the like ; on 
the contrary, he will perhaps sharply retort, '' I never 
heard of Bishop Newton or of Lord George Gordon — I 
don't know their names;" but the simple question 
which we have to determine is the real matter of fact, 
and not whether the persons who are the subjects of 
our investigation will themselves admit it. To this 
point, then, the matter of fact — Do Protestants go 
by tradition ? on which I have said something already, 
I shall now proceed to direct your attention. 

How, then, stands the matter of fact ? Do the people 
of this country receive their notion of the Catholic 
Church in the way of argument and examination, as 
they would decide in favour of railroads over other 
modes of conveyance, or on plans of parish relief, or 
police regulations, and the like ? or does it come to 
them mainly as a tradition which they have inherited, 
and which they will not question, though they have in 
their hands abundant reasons for questioning it? I 
answer, without a doubt, it comes to them as a tradition; 

54 Tradition the Sustaining Power 

the fact is patent and palpable ; the tradition is before 
our eyes, unmistakable ; it is huge, vast, various, en- 
grossing ; it has a monopoly of the English mind, it 
brooks no rival, and it takes summary measures with 

When King Henry began a new religion, when 
Elizabeth brought it into shape, when her successors 
completed and confirmed it, they were all of them too 
wise, and too much in earnest, not to clench their 
work. They provided for its continuance after them. 
They, or at least the influences which ruled them, 
knew well enough that Protestantism, left to itself, 
could not stand. It had not that internal consis- 
tency in its make, which would support it against 
outward foes, or secure it against internal dis- 
orders. And the event has justified their foresight; 
whether you look at Lutheranism or Calvinism, you 
find neither of those forms of religion has been able 
to resist the action of thought and reason upon it 
during a course of years ; both have changed and come 
to nought. Luther began his religion in Germany, 
Calvin in Geneva ; Calvinism is now all but extinct in 
Geneva, and Lutheranism in Germany. It could not 
be otherwise ; such an issue was predicted by Catholics, 
as well as instinctively felt by the Reformers, at the 
time that Protestantism started. Give it rope enough, 
and any one could prophesy its end ; so its patrons 
determined that rope it should not have, but that 
private judgment should come to a close with their own 
use of it. There was enough of private judgment in 
the world, they thought, when they had done with it 

of the Protestant View. 55 

themselves. So they forcibly shut-to the door wliich 
they had opened, and imposed on the populations they 
had reformed an artificial tradition of their own, 
instead of the liberty of inquiry and disputation. 
They worked their own particular persuasion into the 
political framework of things, and made it a con- 
stitutional or national principle ; in other words, they 
established it. 

Now, you may say that Catholicism has often been 
established also. True, but Catholicism does not depend 
on its establishment for its existence, nor does its 
tradition live upon its establishment ; it can do with- 
out establishment, and often dispenses with it to an 
advantage. A Catholic nation, as a matter of course, 
establishes Catholicism because it is a Catholic nation ; 
but in such a case Catholicism and its tradition come 
first, and establishment comes second; the establish- 
ment is the spontaneous act of the people ; it is a 
national movement, the Catholic people does it, and 
not the Catholic Church. It is but the accident of a 
particular state of things, the result of the fervour of 
the people ; it is the will of the masses ; but, I repeat, 
it is not necessary for Catholicism. Not necessary, I 
maintain, and Ireland is my proof of it; there Catho- 
licism has been, not only not established, it has been 
persecuted for three hundred years, and at this moment 
it is more vigorous than ever ; whereas, I defy you to 
bring any instance of a nation remaining Lutheran or 
Calvinist for even a hundred years, under similarly 
unpromising circumstances. Where is the country in 
tJie whole world, where Protestantism has thriven under 
persecution, as Catholicism has thriven in Ireland? 

56 Tradition the Sustaining Power 

You might, indeed, allege in explanation of tlie fact, 
that persecution binds a body together ; but I do not 
think that even persecution would, for any course of 
years, bind Protestants together in one body ; for the 
very principle of private judgment is a principle of 
disunion, and that principle goes on acting in weal and 
in woe, in triumph and in disappointment, and its 
history gives instances of this. But I am speaking, 
not of what is supposable under certain circumstances, 
but of what has been the fact ; and I say, looking at the 
subject historically. Protestantism cannot last without 
an establishment, though Catholicism can ; and next, I 
say, that that establishment of Protestantism is not the 
work of the people, is not a development of their faith, 
is not carried by acclamation, but is an act of calcu- 
lating heads, of State policy, of kingcraft; the work 
of certain princes, statesmen, bishops, in order, if 
possible, to' make that national which as yet is not 
national, and which, without that patronage, never 
would be national ; and, therefore, in the case of Pro- 
testantism, it is not a matter of the greater or less 
expediency, sometimes advisable, sometimes not, but 
is always necessary, always imperative, if Protestantism 
is to be kept alive. Establishmentism is the very 
life of Protestantism ; or, in other words, Protestantism 
comes in upon the nation. Protestantism is maintained, 
not in the way of reason and truth, not by appeals to 
facts, but by tradition, and by a compulsory tradition ; 
and this, in other words, is an establishment. 

Now, this establishment of Protestantism was com- 
paratively an easy undertaking in England, without 
the population knowing much what Protestantism 

of the Protestant View, 57 

meant ; and I will tell you why : there are certain 
peculiarities of the English character, which were 
singularly favourable to the royal purpose. As I have 
just said, the legitimate instruments for deciding on 
the truth of a religion are these two, fact and reason, 
or in other words, the way of history and the way of 
science ; and to both the one and the other of these, 
the English mind is naturally indisposed. Theologians 
proceed in the way of reasoning; they view Catholic 
truth as a whole, as one great system, of which part 
grows out of part, and doctrine corresponds to doctrine. 
This system they carry out into its fulness, and define 
in its details, by patient processes of reason ; and they 
learn to prove and defend it by means of frequent 
disputations and logical developments. Now, all such 
abstract investigations and controversial exercises are 
distasteful to an Englishman ; they suit the Germans, 
and still more the French, the Italians, and the 
Spaniards, but as to ourselves, we break away from 
them as dry, uncertain, theoretical, and unreal. The 
other means of attaining religious truth is the way of 
history; when, namely, from the review of past times 
and foreign countries, the student determines what was 
really taught by the Apostles in the beginning. Now, 
an Englishman, as is notorious, takes comparatively 
little interest in the manners, customs, opinions, or 
doings of foreign countries. Surrounded by the sea, 
he is occupied with himself; his attention is concen- 
trated on himself; and he looks abroad only with 
reference to himself. We are a home people ; we like 
a house to ourselves, and we call it our castle ; we look 
at what is immediately before us; we are eminently 

58 Tradition the Sustaining Power 

practical; we care little for the past; we resign our- 
selves to existing circumstances; we are neither 
eclectics nor antiquarians ; we live in the presenc. 
Foreign politics excite us very little ; the Minister of 
Foreign Affairs may order about our fleets, or sign 
protocols, at his good pleasure, provided he does 
nothing to cripple trade, or to raise the price of wheat 
or cotton. Much less do we care to know how they 
worship, or what they believe, in Germany or in Spain ; 
rather, we are apt to despise their whole apparatus of 
religion, whatever it is, as odd and outlandish; and 
as to past times, English divines have attempted as 
little for ecclesiastical history as they have attempted 
for theological science. 

Now you see how admirably this temper of English- 
men fits in with the exigencies of Protestantism ; for 
two of the very characteristics of Protestantism are, its 
want of past history, and its want of fixed teaching. 
I do not say that no Protestants have investigated or 
argued ; that no Protestants have made appeals to 
primitive Christianity; such an assertion would be 
absurd ; it was a rule of the game, as it may be called, 
that they should do so; they were obliged to say what it 
was that they held, and to prove it they were obliged to 
recur to ecclesiastical history; certainly; but they have 
done so because they could not help it ; they did so for 
the moment ; they did so for a purpose ; they did so as 
an argumentum ad hominem ; but they did so as little as 
they could, and they soon left off doing so. Now 
especially the Latitudinarian party professes to ignore 
doctrine, and the Evangelical to ignore history. In 
truth, philosophy and history do not come natural to 

of the Protestant View. 59 

Protestantism ; it cannot bear either ; it does not reason 
out any point ; it does not survey steadily any course 
of facts. It dips into reason, it dips into history ; but 
it breathes more freely when it emerges again. Ob- 
serve, then ; — the very exercises of the intellect, by 
which religious truth is attained, are just those which 
the Englishman is too impatient, and Protestantism 
too shallow to abide ; the natural disposition of the one 
most happily jumps with the needs of the other. And 
this was the first singular advantage of Protestantism 
in England : Catholics reasoned profoundly upon 
doctrine, Catholics investigated rigidly the religious 
state of other times and places ; in vain, — they had not 
found the way to gain the Englishman ; whereas their 
antagonists had found a weapon of their own, far more 
to the purpose of the contest than argument or fact. 

That weapon is, what is so characteristic of our people, 
loyalty to the Sovereign. If there is one passion more 
than another which advantageously distinguishes the 
Englishman, it is that of personal attachment. He lives 
in the present, in contrast to the absent and the past. He 
ignores foreigners at a distance ; but when they come 
to him, if they come recommended by their antecedents, 
and make an appeal to his eyes and his ears, he almost 
worships them. We all recollect with what enthusiasm 
the populace received Marshal Soult on his visit to Lon- 
don a few years ago ; it was a warm and hearty feeling, 
elicited by the sight of a brave enemy and a skilful com- 
mander, and ittookhis own countrymen altogether by sur- 
prise. The reception given to Louis Philippe, who was far 
frompopular among us, was of a similarly hospitable cha- 
racter ; nay, Napoleon himself, who had been the object 

6o Tradition the Susiaininz Power 


of our bitterest hatred, on his appearance as a prisoner 
off the British coast, was visited by numbers with an 
interest, respect, and almost sympathy, which I con- 
sider {mutatis mutandis) would not at all have been 
shown towards Wellington or Bluclier, had they been 
prisoners in France. Again, I suppose the political 
principles of the Emperor Nicholas are as cordially 
hated in England as his religious principles are in dis- 
repute in Rome; yet even he, on his successive visits 
to the two places, encountered a far less flattering 
reception from the Roman populace than from the 
people of England. Who so unpopular, thirty years 
ago, as that remarkable man. Lord Londonderry ? yet, 
when he appeared at George the Fourth's coronation, 
the sight of his noble figure and bearing drew shouts of 
applause from the multitude, who had thought they 
hated him. George himself, worthless as he seems to 
have been, for how many years had he been an object of 
popular admiration ! till his wife, a more urgent can- 
didate for the eye of pity and sympathy, supplanted 
him. Charles the Second, the most profligate of 
monarchs, lived in the hearts of his people till the day 
of his death. It is the way with Englishmen. A saint 
in rags would be despised ; in broadcloth, or in silk, he 
would be thought something more than ordinary. St 
Francis of Assisi, bareheaded and barefooted, would be 
hooted ; St Francis Xavier, dressed up like a mandarin, 
with an umbrella over his head, would inspire wonder 
and delight. A Turk, a Parsee, a Chinese, a Bonze, 
nay, I will say, a chimpanzee, a hippopotamus, has only 
to show himself in order to be the cynosure of innumer- 
able eyes, and the idol of his hour. Nay, even more, — 

of the Protestant View. 6 1 

— I will say a bold thing, — but I am not at all sure, 
that, except at seasons of excitement like the present, 
the Pope himself, however he may be abused behind 
his back, would not be received with cheers, and run 
after by admiring crowds, if he visited this country, 
independent of the shadow of Peter which attends him, 
winning favour and attracting hearts, when he showed 
himself in real flesh and blood, by the majesty of his 
presence and the prestige of his name. Such, I say, is 
the Englishman : with a heart for many objects, with 
an innate veneration for merit, talents, rank, wealth, 
science, not in the abstract, however, but as embodied 
in a visible form ; and it is the consciousness of this 
characteristic which renders statesmen at this moment, 
of whatever cast of politics, so afraid of the appearance 
of cardinals and a hierarchy in the midst of the people 
they have to govern. 


These antagonistpeculiarities of the English character 
which I have been describing, lay clear and distinct 
before the sagacious intellects which were the rulino- 
spirits of the English Reformation. They had to deal 
with a people who would be sure to revolt from the un- 
natural speculations of Calvin, and who would see 
nothing attractive in the dreamy and sensual doctrines 
of Luther. The emptiness of a ceremonial, and the 
affectation of a priesthood, were no bribe to its busi- 
ness-like habits and its ingrained love of the tano-ible. 
Definite dogma, intelligible articles of faith, formularies 
which would construe, a consistent ritual, an historical 
ancestry, would have been thrown away on those who 

62 Tradiiion the Sustaining Power 

were not sensitive of the connection of faith and reason. 
Another way was to be pursued with our countrymen 
to make Protestantism live ; and that was to embody it 
in the person of its Sovereign. English Protestantism 
is the religion of the throne : it is represented, realised, 
taught, transmitted in the succession of monarchs and 
an hereditary aristocracy. It is religion grafted upon 
loyalty ; and its strength is not in argument, not in 
fact, not in the unanswerable controversialist, not in 
an apostolical succession, not in sanction of Scripture, 
— but in a royal road to faith, in backing up a King 
whom men see, against a Pope whom they do not see. 
The devolution of its crown is the tradition of its creed ; 
and to doubt its truth is to be disloyal towards its Sove- 
reign. Kings are an Englishman's saints and doctors ; 
he likes somebody or something at which he can cry 
''huzzah," and throw up his hat. Bluif King Hal, 
glorious Bess, the Royal Martyr, the Merry Monarch, 
the pious and immortal William, the good King George, 
royal personages very different from each other, — 
nevertheless, as being royal, none of them comes amiss, 
but they are all of them the objects of his devotion, and 
the resolution of his Christianity. 

It was plain, then, what had to be done in order to 
perpetuate Protestantism in a country such as this. 
Convoke the legislature, pass some sweeping ecclesias- 
tical enactments, exalt the Crown above the Law and 
the Gospel, down with the Cross and up with the lion 
and the dog, toss all priests out of the country as traitors ; 
let Protestantism be the passport to office and authority, 
force the King to be a Protestant, make his court 
Protestant, bind Houses of Parliament to be Protestant, 

of the Protestant Vieiv, 6 


clap a Protestant oath upon judges, barristers-at-law, 
officers in army and nav)^, members of the universities, 
national clergy; establish this stringent Tradition in 
every function and department of the State, surround it 
with the lustre of rank, wealth, station, name, and 
talent; and this people, so impatient of inquiry, so 
careless of abstract truth, so apathetic to historical fact, 
so contemptuous of foreign ideas, will ex animo swear 
to the truth of a religion which indulges their natural 
turn of mind, and involves no severe thought or tedious 
application. The Sovereign is the source and the centre, 
as of civil, so of ecclesiastical arrangements ; truth shall 
be synonymous with order and good government ; — 
what can be simpler than such a teaching ? Puritans 
may struggle against it, and temporarily prevail ; sceptics 
may ridicule it, object, expose, and refute ; readers of 
the Fathers may strive to soften and embellish it with 
the colours of antiquity ; but strong in the constitution 
of the law, and congenial to the heart of the people, the 
royal tradition will be a match for all its rivals, and in the 
long run will extinguish the very hope of competition. 
So counselled the Achitophels of the day; it was 
devised, it was done. Then was the inauguration of the 
great picture of the Lion and the Man. The Virgin 
Queen rose in her strength ; she held her court, she 
showed herself to her people ; she gathered round her 
peer and squire, alderman and burgess, army and navy, 
lawyer and divine, student and artisan. She made an 
appeal to the chivalrous and the loyal, and forthwith all 
that was noble, powerful, dignified, splendid, and in- 
tellectual, touched the hilt of their swords, and spread 
their garments in the way for her to tread upon. And 

64 Tradition the Sustainijig Pozuer 

first of all she addressed herself to the Law ; and that, 
not only because it was the proper foundation of a 
national structure, but also inasmuch as, from the 
nature of the case, it was her surest and most faithful 
ally. The Law is a science, and therefore takes for 
granted afterwards whatever it has once determined ; 
hence it followed, that once Protestant, it would be 
always Protestant ; it could be depended on ; let Pro- 
testantism be recognised as a principle of the Constitu- 
tion, and every decision, 1k) the end of time, would but 
illustrate Protestant doctrines and consolidate Pro- 
testant interests. In the eye of the Law precedent 
is the measure of truth, and order the proof of reason- 
ableness, and acceptableness the test of orthodoxy. It • 
moves forward by a majestic tradition, faithful to its 
principles, regardless of theory and speculation, and 
therefore eminently fitted to be the vehicle of English 
Protestantism such as we have described it, and to co- 
operate with the monarchical principle in its establish- 
ment. Moreover, a number of delicate questions which 
had been contested in previous centuries, and had 
hitherto been involved in contradictory precedents, 
now received once for all a Protestant solution. There 
had been prolonged disputes between the Pontificate 
and the Regale, the dispute about Investitures, of 
Rufus with St Anselm, of Henry the Second with St 
Thomas, of Henry of Winchester with St Edmund ; 
and the eighth Harry had settled it in his own way, 
when, on Cardinal Fisher's refusing to acknowledge 
his spiritual power, he had, without hesitation, pro- 
ceeded to cut off" his head ; but the Law, with its Pro- 
testant bias, could now give dignity and form to what, 

of the Protestant View. 65 

up to this time, to say the least, were ex parte proceed- 
ings. It was decided, once for all, what was the rule 
and what the exception; the courts gave judgment 
that the saints were to be all in the wrong, the kings 
were to be all in the right ; whatever the Crown had 
claimed was to be its due, whatever the Pope claimed 
was to be a usurpation. What could be more simple 
and conclusive ? the most sacred power in the order of 
nature, " whose voice is the harmony of the world," to 
whom " all things in earth do homage," the hereditary 
wisdom and the collective intelligence of a mighty 
nation in Parliament assembled, the venerable judges 
of the land, were retained in the interests of a party ; 
their ripe experience, their profound thought, their 
subtle penetration, their well regulated prudence, were 
committed for good and all to the politics of a crisis. 

So much for the Law ; but this was only one of 
those great functions of the nation which became the 
instrument of the Protestant Tradition. Elizabeth 
had an influence on her side, over and above, and even 
greater than the authority of the Law. She was the 
queen of fashion and of opinion. The principles of 
Protestantism rapidly became the standard generally, 
to which genius, taste, philosophy, learning, and in- 
vestigation were constrained and bribed to submit. 
They are her legacy to the nation, and have been taken 
for granted ever since as starting-points in all discus- 
sion and all undertakings. In every circle, and in 
every rank of the community, in the court, in public 
meetings, in private society, in literary assemblages, in 
the family party, it is always assumed that Catholicism 
is absurd. No one can take part in the business of the 


66 Tradition the Sustaining Power 

great world, no one can speak and debate, no one can 
present himself before his constituents, no one can 
write a book, without the necessity of professing that 
Protestant ideas are self-evident, and that the religion 
of Alfred, St Edward, Stephen Langton, and Friar 
Bacon, is a bygone dream. No one can be a Catholic 
without apologising for it. And what is in vogue in 
the upper classes is ever, as we know, ambitiously aped 
in the inferior. The religious observances of the court 
became a reigning fashion throughout the social fabric, 
as certainly as its language or its mode of dress ; and, as 
an aspirant for distinction advances from a lower grade 
of society to an upper, he necessarily abandons his 
vulgar sect, whatever it is, for the national Protestant- 
ism. All other ways of thought are as frightful as the 
fashions of last year ; the present is the true and the 
divine ; the past is dark because its sun has set, and 
ignorant because it is dumb, and living dogs are worth 
more than dead lions. As to Catholicism, the utmost 
liberality which can be extended towards it, is to call 
it pretty poetry, bearable in a tragedy, intolerable in 
fact; the utmost charity towards its professors is to 
confess that they may be better than their creed, — 
perhaps believe it, and are only dupes, — perhaps doubt 
it, and are only cowards. Protestantism sets the tone 
in all things; and to have the patronage of the 
wealthy, the esteem of the cultivated, and the applause 
of the many, Catholics must get its phrases by heart. 

It is the profession of a gentleman ; Catholicism of 
underbred persons, of the vulgar-minded, the uncouth, 
and the ill-connected. We all can understand how 
the man of fashion, the profligate, the spendthrift, 

of the Protestant View. 67 

have tlieir own circles, to which none but men of their 
own stamp and their own opinions are admitted ; how 
to hate religion and religious men, to scoff at principle, 
and to laugh at heaven and hell, and to do all this 
with decorum and good breeding, are the necessary- 
title for admittance; and how, in consequence, men 
at length begin to believe what they so incessantly 
hear said, and what they so incessantly say by rote 
themselves, — begin to suspect that, after all, virtue, as 
it is called, is nothing else than hypocrisy grafted on 
licentiousness ; and that purity and simplicity and 
earnestness and probity are but the dreams of the 
young and the theoretical : — it is by a similar policy, 
and by a similar process, that the fathers and patrons 
of the English Reformation have given a substance, a 
momentum, and a permanence to their tradition, and 
have fastened on us Catholics, first the imputation, 
then the repute of ignorance, bigotry, and superstition. 
And now I will mention a distinct vehicle of the 
Protestant tradition in England, which was an instance 
of good fortune, greater than its originators could 
possibly have anticipated or contrived. Protestantism 
became, not only the tradition of law and of good 
society, but the tradition of literature also. There is 
no English literature before the age of Elizabeth ; but 
with the latter years of her reign begins that succession 
of great authors which continues to flow on down to this 
day. So it was, that about the commencement of the 
sixteenth century learning revived; on the taking of 
Constantinople by the Turks, the men of letters of the 
imperial city, and, what was of more consequence, its 
libraries, became the property of the West. Schools 

68 Tradition the Sustaining Power 

were opened for the cultivation of studies which had 
made Greece as renowned among the nations in the 
gifts of intellect, as Judea has been in the gifts of 
grace. The various perfections of the Greek language, 
the treasures of Greek thought, the life and taste 
of Greek art, after the sleep of ages, burst upon the 
European mind. It was like the warmth, the cheerful- 
ness, and the hues of spring succeeding to the pure and 
sublime, but fantastic forms of winter frost-work. The 
barbarism, the sternness, the untowardness of the high 
and noble medieval school, eyed with astonishment 
the radiance, and melted beneath the glow of a genius 
unrivalled in the intellectual firmament. A world of 
ideas, transcendent in beauty and endless in fertility, 
flooded the imagination of the scholar and the poet. 
The fine arts underwent a classical development, and 
the vernacular tongues caught the refinement and the 
elegance of the age of Pericles and Alexander. The 
revival began in Catholic Italy; it advanced into 
Catholic France ; at length it showed itself in Protest- 
ant England. A voice came forth from the grave of 
the old world, as articulate and keen as that of a living 
teacher ; and it thrilled into the heart of the people to 
whom it came, and it taught them to respond to it in 
their own tongue, — and that teaching was coincident 
in this country with the first i)reaching of Protestantism. 
It was surely a most lucky accident for the young 
religion, that, while the English language was coming 
to the birth with its special attributes of nerve, sim- 
plicity, and vigour, at its very first breathings Pro- 
testantism was at hand to form it upon its own 
theological patois^ and to educate it as the mouth- 

of the Protestant View. 69 

piece of its own tradition. So, however, it was to be ; 
and soon, 

" As in this bad world below 
Noblest things find vilest using," 

the new religion employed the new language for its 
purposes, in a great undertaking, the translation of its 
own Bible ; a work which, by the purity of its diction, 
and the strength and harmony of its style, has de- 
servedly become the very model of good English, and 
the standard of the language to all future times. The 
same age, which saw this great literary achievement, 
gave birth to some of the greatest masters of thought 
and composition in distinct departments of authorship. 
Shakespeare, Spenser, Sidney, Raleigh, Bacon, and 
Hooker are its own ; and they were, withal, more or 
less the panegyrists of Elizabeth and her Religion, and 
moreover, at least the majority of them, adherents of 
her creed, beeause already clients of her throne. The 
Mother of the Reformation is, in the verses of Shake- 
speare, " a fair vestal throned by the west; " in the poem 
of Spenser she is the Faery Queen, Gloriana, and the fair 
huntress, Belphebe, while the militant Christian is res- 
cued from the seductions of Popery, Duessa, by Una, 
the True Church, or Protestant Religion. The works 
of these celebrated men have been but the beo:innin2r 
of a long series of creations of the highest order of 
literary merit, of which Protestantism is the intellectual 
basis, and Protestant institutions the informing object. 
What was wanting to lead the national mind a willing 
captive to the pretensions of Protestantism, beyond 
the fascination of genius so manifold and so various ? 
"What need of controversy to refute the claims of 

70 Tradition the Sustaining Power 

Catliolicism, what need of closeness of reasoning, or 
research into facts, when under a Queen's smile this 
vast and continuous Tradition had been unrolled before 
the eyes of men, luminous with the most dazzling 
colours, and musical with the most subduing strains ? 
Certainly the lion's artists, even had they had the 
fairest play, could have set up no rival exhibition as 
original and as brilliant as this. 

Nor was it court poets alone, as time went on, who 
swelled the torrent of the Protestant Tradition. Milton 
from the middle class, and Banyan from among the 
populace, exerted an influence superior to Shakespeare 
himself, whose great mind did not condescend to the 
direct inculcation of a private or a sectarian creed. 
Their phrases, their sentiments, are the household 
words of the nation, they have become its interpreters 
of Scripture, and, I may say, its prophets, — such is 
the magical eloquence of their compositions ; so much 
so, that I really shall not be far from the mark in 
saying of them, and this is true of Shakespeare also, 
that the ordinary run of men find it very difficult to 
determine, in respect to the proverbs, instances, maxims, 
and half sentences which are in the nation's mouth, 
which, and how much, is from the Bible, and how 
much from the authors I have mentioned. There is a 
saying, " Give me the framing of a nation's proverbs, 
and others may frame its laws : " and its proverbs are 
the produce of its literature. What, indeed, could 
possibly stand against the rush and vehemence of such 
a Tradition, which has grown fuller and fuller, and 
more and more impetuous, with every successive quarter 
of a century ! Clarendon and the statesmen, Locke 

of the Protestant View. 7 1 

and the philosophers, Addison and the essayists, Hume, 
Robertson, and the historians, Cowper and the minor 
poets, the reviews and magazines of the present century, 
all proceed upon the hypothesis, which they think too 
self-evident for proof, that Protestantism is synonymous 
with good sense, and Catholicism with weakness of 
mind, fanaticism, or some unaccountable persuasion or 
fancy. Verse and prose, grave and gay, the scientific 
and the practical, history and fable, all is animated 
spontaneously, or imperiously subdued, by the spirit of 
Henry and Elizabeth. I say, '•'- imperiously subdued," 
because the Tradition of Protestantism is strong enough, 
not only to recommend, but to force, its reception on 
each successive generation of authors. It compels 
when it cannot persuade. There is Alexander Pope, a 
Catholic, and who would discover it from the run of his 
poems ? There is Samuel Johnson, born a Protestant, 
yearning for the Catholic Church, and bursting out 
into fitful defences of portions of her doctrine and dis- 
cipline, yet professing to the last that very Protestant- 
ism which could neither command his afi'ections, nor cure 
his infirmities. And, in our own time, there was Walter 
Scott, ashamed of his own Catholic tendencies, and cower- 
ing before the jealous frown of the tyrant Tradition. 
There was Wordsworth, obliged to do penance for 
Catholic sonnets by anti-Catholic complements to them. 
Scott, forsooth, must plead antiquarianism in extenua- 
tion of his prevarication ; Wordsworth must plead Pan- 
theism ; and Burke, again, must plead political necessity. 
Liberalism, scepticism, infidelity, these must be the 
venial errors, under plea of which a writer escapes re- 
probation for the enormity of feeling tenderly towards 

72 Tradition the Sustaining Power 

the Religion of his fathers, and of his neighbours around 
him. That Religion labours under a proscription of 
three centuries, and it is outlawed by immemorial 

No wonder, then, that Protestantism, being the 
religion of our literature, has become the Tradition of 
civil intercourse and political life ; no wonder that its 
assumptions are among the elements of knowledge, un- 
changeable as the moods of logic, or the idioms of 
language, or the injunctions of good taste, or the pro- 
prieties of good manners. Elizabeth's reign is 
"golden," Mary is "bloody," the Church of Eng- 
land is "pure and apostolical," the Reformers are 
"judicious," the Prayer Book is " incomparable," or 
" beautiful," the Thirty-nine Articles are " moderate," 
"Pope" and "pagan" go together, and "the Pope, 
the Devil, and the Pretender." The anti- Catholic 
rancour is carried into your marts of commerce ; 
London is burned down, and forthwith your greatest 
architect is instructed to set up a tall pillar to per- 
petuate the lie, that the Papists were the incendiaries. 
Take your controversy with you when you sit down to 
cards, and let the taunting name of Pope Joan be the 
title of your game. Run a horse the coming year, 
and among your Sorcerers, Lamplighters, Malibrans, 
and Priams, you will find Crucifix a striking, perhaps 
a lucky name for your beast ; it is but the emblem of 
an extinct superstition. Dress up for some fancy ball, 
or morris-dance, and let the Grand Turk jump about 
on one side of you, and the Pope with cross, and beads, 
and triple crown, upon the other. Go to the stage of 
the Mountebank, and teach him, when he displays his 

of the Protestant View. 'J2f 

sleiglit-of-liand, to give effect to his tricks by tlie most 
sacred words of the Catholic ritual. Into your very 
vocabulary let Protestantism enter ; let priest, and 
mass, and mass-priest, and mass-house have an offen- 
sive savour on your palate ; let monk be a word of 
reproach; let Jesuitism and Jesuitical, in their first 
intention, stand for what is dishonourable and vile. 
What chance has a Catholic against so multitudinous, 
so elementary a Tradition? Here is the Tradition of 
the Court, and of the Law, and of Society, and of 
Literature, strong in themselves, and acting on each 
other, and acting on a willing people, and the willing 
people acting on them, till the whole edifice stands 
self-supported, reminding one of some vast arch (as 
at times may be seen), from which the supports have 
crumbled away by age, but which endures still, and 
supports the huge mass of brick-work which lies above 
it, by the simple cohesion of parts which that same 
age has effected. My Brothers of the Oratory, you 
see what I meant when I spoke of the Tradition of the 
Pharisees, and said that it might be powerful in influ- 
ence, though it was argumentatively weak ; you see 
why it is that the fair form of Catholicism, as it exists 
in the east, west, and south, never crosses the retina 
of a Protestant's imagination : — it is the incubus of 
this Tradition which cumbers the land, and opposes an 
impregnable barrier between us and each individual 
Protestant whom we happen to address. Whoever he 
is, he thinks he knows all about our religion before 
speaking to us, — nay, perhaps much better than we 
know it ourselves. And now, if I said no more, I 
have said abundantly sufficient for the point I have 

74 Tradition the Sustaining Power 

had in view ; and yet there is one portion of the subject 
still behind, which is almost more to my purpose than 
anything which I have hitherto mentioned. 


Protestantism is also the Tradition of the Anglican 
Clergy ; and in speaking of them with reference to it, 
as I am going to speak. Brothers of the Oratory, do 
not suppose me to be forgetful either of their private 
worth or their social uses. As the other functions of 
the Constitution subserve the temporal welfare of the 
community, so does the established clergy minister to 
it with a special fidelity. But here I am all along 
speaking of Kings, Lords, Commons, Law, Literature, 
and so also of the Clergy, not simply as parts of the 
body politic, but as organs of Protestantism ; and, as 
I have pointed out the ojEiice which other political 
ranks and departments fulfil in its propagation, so am 
I now to speak of the duties of the lleligious Establish- 
ment. I say, then, that its especial duty as a religious 
body, is not to inculcate any particular theological 
system, but to watch over the anti-Catholic Tradition, 
to preserve it from rust and decay, to keep it bright 
and keen, and ready for action on any emergency or 
peril. It is the way with human nature to start with 
vigour, and then to flag ; years tell upon the toughest 
frames ; time introduces changes ; prejudices are worn 
away ; asperities are softened ; views opened ; errors 
are corrected; opponents are better understood; the 
raind wearies of warfare. The Protestant Tradition, 
left to itself, would in the course of time languish and 
decline; laws would become obsolete, the etiquette 

of the Protestant View. 75 

and usages of society would alter, literature would be 
enlivened with new views, and the old Truth might 
return with the freshness of novelty. It is almost the 
mission of the established clergy, by word and writing, 
to guard against this tendency of the public mind. In 
this specially consists its teaching; I repeat, not in the 
shreds of Catholic doctrine which it professes, not in 
proofs of the Divinity of any creed whatever, not in 
separating opinion from faith, not in instructing in 
the details of morals, but mainly in furbishing up the 
old-fashioned weapons of centuries back ; in catalogu- 
ing and classing the texts which are to batter us, and 
the objections which are to explode among us, and the 
insinuations and the slanders which are to mow us 
down. The Establishment is the keeper in ordinary 
of those national types and blocks from which Popery 
is ever to be printed off, — of the traditional view of 
every Catholic doctrine, the traditional account of every 
ecclesiastical event, the traditional lives of popes and 
bishops, abbots and monks, saints and confessors, — 
the traditional fictions, sophisms, calumnies, mockeries, 
sarcasms, and invectives with which Catholics are to 
be assailed. 

This, I say, is the special charge laid upon the 
Establishment. Unitarians, Sabellians, Utilitarians, 
Wesleyans, Calvinists, Swedenborgians, Irvingites, 
Freethinkers, all these it can tolerate in its very 
bosom ; no form of opinion comes amiss ; but Rome it 
cannot abide. It agrees to differ with its own children 
on a thousand points, one is sacred — that her Majesty 
the Queen is "the Mother and Mistress of all 

76 Tradition the Sustaining Power 

Churclies ; " on one dogma it is infallible, on one it 
may secm-ely insist without fear of being unseasonable 
or excessive — that " the Bishop of Rome hath no 
jurisdiction in this realm," Here is sunshine amid 
the darkness, sense amid confusion, an intelligible 
strain amid a Babel of sounds ; whatever befalls, here 
is sure footing ; it is, " No peace with Rome," " Down 
with the Pope," and " The Church in danger." 
Never has the Establishment failed in the use of these 
important and effective watchwords ; many are its 
shortcomings, but it is without reproach in the execu- 
tion of this its special charge. Heresy, and scepticism, 
and infidelity, and fanaticism, may challenge it in 
vain ; but fling upon the gale the faintest whisper of 
Catholicism, and it recognises by instinct the presence 
of its connatural foe. Forthwith, as during the last 
year, the atmosphere is tremulous with agitation, and 
discharges its vibrations far and wide. A movement 
is in birth which has no natural crisis or resolution. 
Spontaneously the bells of the steeples begin to sound. 
Not by an act of volition, but by a sort of mechanical 
impulse, bishop and dean, archdeacon and canon, 
rector and curate, one after another, each on his high 
tower, off they set, swinging and booming, tolling and 
chiming, with nervous intenseness, and thickening 
emotion, and deepening volume, the old ding-dong 
which has scared town and country this weary time ; 
tolling and chiming away, jingling and clamouring 
and ringing the changes on their poor half-dozen notes, 
all about "the Popish aggression," ''insolent and 
insidious," '' insidious and insolent," " insolent and 

of the Protestant View. 77 

atrocious," "atrocious and insolent," " atrocious, inso- 
lent, and ungrateful," " ungrateful, insolent, and atro- 
cious," "foul and oflFensive," "pestilent and horrid," 
" subtle and unholy," " audacious and revolting," 
" contemptible and shameless," " malignant," " fright- 
ful," " mad," " meretricious," — ^bobs (I think the 
ringers call them), bobs, and bobs-royal, and triple- 
bob-majors, and grandsires, — to the extent of their 
compass and the full ring of their metal, in honour of 
Queen Bess, and to the confusion of the Holy Father 
and the Princes of the Church. 

So it is now ; so it was twenty years ago ; nay, so 
it has been in all years as they came, even the least 
controversial. If there was no call for a contest, at 
least there was the opportunity of a triumph. Who ^ 
could want matter for a sermon, if ever his thoughts 
would not flow, whether for convenient digression, or 
effective peroration? Did a preacher wish for an 
illustration of heathen superstition or Jewish bigotry, 
or an instance of hypocrisy, ignorance, or spiritual 
pride? the Catholics were at hand. The deliverance 
from Egypt, the golden calf, the fall of Dagon, the 
sin of Solomon, the cruelties of Jezebel, the worship 
of Baal, the destruction of the brazen serpent, the 
finding of the law, the captivity in Babylon, Nebucho- 
donosor's image, Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, and 
Zexlots, mint, anise, and cummin, brazen pots and 
vessels, all in their respective places and ways, would 
give opportunity to a few grave words of allusion to 
the " monstrous errors " or the " childish absurdities " 
of the " Romish faith." Does any one wish an example 
of pride ? there stands Wolsey ; of barbarity ? there is 

yS Tradition the Sustaining Power 

the Duke of Alva; of rebellion? there is Becket ; of 
ambition? there is Hildebrand ; of profligacy? there 
is Caesar Borgia ; of superstition ? there is Louis the 
Eleventh ; of fanaticism ? there are the Crusaders. 
Saints and sinners, monks and laymen, the devout 
and the worldly, provided they be but Catholics, are 
heaped together in one indiscriminate mass, to be 
drawn forth for inspection and exposure according to 
the need. 

The consequence is natural ; — tell a person of ordi- 
nary intelligence. Churchman or Dissenter, that the 
vulgar allegations against us are but slanders, — simple 
lies, or exaggerations, or misrepresentations ; or, as 
far as they are true, admitting of defence or justifica- 
tion, and not to the point ; and he will laugh in your 
face at your simplicity, or lift up hands and eyes at 
your unparalleled effrontery. The utmost concession 
he will make is to allow the possibility of incidental 
and immaterial error in the accusations which are 
brought against us ; but the substance of the tradi- 
tional view he believes, as firmly as he does the Gospel, 
and if you reject it and protest against it, he will say 
it is just what is to be expected of a Catholic, to lie 
and to circumvent. To tell him at his time of life, 
that Catholics do not rate sin at a fixed price, that 
they may not get absolution for a sin in prospect, that 
priests can live in purity, that nuns do not murder 
each other, that the laity do not make images their 
God, that Catholics would not burn Protestants if they 
could ! Why, all this is as perfectly clear to him as 
the sun at noonday ; he is ready to leave the matter 
to the first person he happens to meet ; every one will 

of the Protestant View. 79 

tell US just the same ; only let us try ; lie never knew 
there was any doubt at all about it ; he is surprised, 
for he thought we granted it. When he was young, 
he has heard it said again and again ; to his certain 
knowledge it has uniformly been said the last forty, 
fifty, sixty years, and no one ever denied it; it is so 
in all the books he ever looked into ; what is the world 
coming to ? What is true, if this is not ? So, Catholics 
are to be whitewashed ! Wnat next ? 

And so he proceeds in detail; — the Papists not wor- 
ship the Virgin Mary I why, they call her " Deipara," 
which means "equal to God." 

The Pope not the man of sin ! why, it is a fact, that 
the B-omanists distinctly maintain that " the Pope is 
God, and God is the Pope." 

The Pope's teaching not a doctrine of devils ! here 
is a plain proof of it ; Cardinal Bellarmine expressly 
" maintains that, if the Pope commanded us to practise 
vice or shun virtue, we are obliged to do so, under pain 
of eternal damnation." 

Not a Pope Joan ! why, she was " John the Eighth, 
her real name was Gilberta, she took the name of John 
English, delivered public lectures at Rome, and was at 
length unanimously elected Poj)e." 

What ! Councils infallible ! open your eyes, my 
brother, and judge for yourself; "fifteen hundred public 
women followed the train of the Fathers of Constance." 

Jesuits ! here are at least twenty thousand in Eng- 
land ; and, horrible to say, a number of them in each of 
the Protestant Universities, and doubtless a great 
many at Oscott. 

Beauty and sanctity of the Popish festivals I do you 

So Tradition the Sustaining' Power 


not know that the Purification " is the very feast that 
was celebrated by the ancient pagan Romans in honour 
of the goddess Proserpina ? " 

The Papists not corrupters of the Scriptures ! look 
into their Bibles, and you will find they read the pro- 
phecy in Genesis, " She shall crush thy head, and thou 
shalt lie in wait for her heel." 

Popery preach Christ ! no ; " Popery," as has been 
well said, "is the religion of priestcraft; from the 
beginning to the end it is nothing but priest, priest, 
priest." * 

I shall both weary and ofifend you, my Brothers, if I 
proceed. Even absurdity becomes tiresome after a time, 
and slanders cast on holy things and persons, when 
dwelt on, are too painful for a Catholic's ears ; yet it 
was necessary for my subject to give instances of the 
popular views of us and of our creed, as they are 
formed under the operation of the Tradition of Eliza- 

Here I am reminded of another sort of Tradition, 
started by a very difierent monarch, which in the event 
was handled very difi'erently. It is often told how 
Charles the Second once sent a grave message to the 
Eoyal Society. That scientific body was founded in his 
reign, and the witty king, as became his well-known 
character, could not help practising a jest upon it. He 
proposed a question for its deliberation ; he asked it, as 
I daresay you have often heard, to tell him how it was 
that a live fish weighed less heavily in water than after 
it was dead. The Society, as it was in duty bound, 

* Vide Stephen's Spirit of the Church of Rome; Edgar's Variations; 
Cramp's Text-Book of Popery, &c. ; the books I happen to have at hand. 

of the Protestant View. 8 1 

applied itself to solve the plienomenon, and various 
were the theories to which it gave occasion. At last it 
occurred to its members to determine the fact, before 
deciding on any of them ; when, on making the experi- 
ment, to their astonishment they found that the hypo- 
thesis was a mere invention of their royal master's, 
because the dead fish was not heavier in water than the 

Well would it be if Englishmen in like manner, 
instead of taking their knowledge of us at (what may 
be called) royal hand, would judge about us for them- 
selves, before they hunted for our likeness in the book 
of Daniel, St Paul's Epistles, and the Apocalypse. 
They then would be the first to smile at their own 
extravagances ; but, alas ! as yet, there are no such signs 
of such ordinary prudence. Sensible in other matters, 
they lose all self-command when the name of Catho- 
licism is sounded in their ears. They trust the voice of 
Henry or Elizabeth, with its thousand echoes, more 
than their own eyes and their own experience; and 
they are zealous in echoing it themselves to the genera- 
tion which is to follow them. Each in his turn, as his 
reason opens, is indoctrinated in the popular misconcep- 
tion. At this very time, in consequence of the clamour 
which has been raised against us, children in the streets, 
of four and five years old, are learning and using against 
us terms of abuse, which will be their tradition all 
through their lives, till they are grey-headed, and have, 
in turn, to teach it to their grandchildren. They totter 
out, and lift their tiny hands, and raise their thin voices, 
in protest against those whom they are just able to 
understand are very wicked and very dangerous ; and 

82 Tradition the Sustaining Power, &c. 

tliey run away in terror wlien they catch our eye. Nor 
will the growth of reason set them right ; the longer 
they live, and the more they converse with men, the 
more will they hate us. The Maker of all, and only He, 
can shiver in pieces this vast enchanted palace in which 
our lot is cast ; may He do it in His time I 



IT was my aim, Brothers of the Oratory, in my preced- 
ing Lecture, to investigate, as far as time and place 
allowed, how it was that the one-sided view of the great 
religious controversy, which commenced between Rome 
and England three centuries since, has been so success- 
fully maintained in this country. Many things have 
changed among us during that long period ; but the 
hatred and the jealousy entertained by the population 
towards the Catholic Faith, and the scorn and pity 
which are felt at the sight of its adherents, have not 
passed away, have not been mitigated. In that long 
period, society has undergone various alterations; 
public opinion has received a development new in the 
history of the world, and many remarkable revolutions 
in national principle have followed. The received 
views on the causes and the punishment of crime, on 
the end of government, on the mutual relations of 
town and country, on international interests, and on 
many other great political questions, have sustained, 
to say the least, great modifications ; sciences, 
unknown before, bearing upon the economy of social 
life, have come into being ; medicine has been the 

84 Fable the Basis of 

subject of new doctrines, which have had their in- 
fluence on various civil and municipal arrangements ; 
how is it, then, that the feeling against Catholicism 
has remained substantially what it was in the days of 
Charles the Second or of George the Third ? How is 
it that Protestantism has retained its ascendency, and 
that Catholic arguments and Catholic principles are at 
once misconstrued and ignored ? And what increases 
the wonder is, that externally to our own island it has 
happened otherwise; there is scarcely a country be- 
sides ours where Catholicism is not at least respected, 
even if it is not studied ; and what is more observable 
still, scarcely a country besides ours, originally Pro- 
testant, in which Protestantism even exists at present, 
— if by Protestantism is understood the religion of 
Luther and Calvin. The phenomenon, great in itself, 
becomes greater by its thus seeming to be all but pecu- 
liar to the British population. 

And this latter consideration is important also, as it 
anticipates a solution of the difficulty which the Pro- 
testant, were he able, would eagerly adopt. He would 
be eager to reply, if he could, that the Protestant spirit 
has survived in the land amid so many changes in 
political and social science, because certain political 
theories were false, but Protestantism is true ; but if 
this is the case, why has it not kept its ground and 
made its way in other countries also ? What cause 
can be assigned for its decay and almost extinction in 
those other countries, in Germany, Holland, Switzer- 
land, and New England, diverse from each other in 
situation, in government, in language, and in character, 
where once it flourished ? Evidently it must be a cause 

the Protestant View. 85 

peculiar to England; those foreign countries must 
have something in common with each other which they 
have not in common with us. Now what is peculiar to 
our country is an established tradition of Protestantism; 
what those other countries have in common with each 
other, is the absence of such tradition. Fact and 
argument have had fair play in other countries ; they 
have not had fair play here ; the religious establishment 
has forbidden them fair play. But fact and argument 
are the tests of truth and error ; Protestantism, then, 
has had an adventitious advantage in this country, in 
consequence of which it has not been tried, — as, in the 
course of years, otherwise it would have been tried, and 
as it has been tried elsewhere — on its own merits. 
Instead, then, of concluding that it is true, because it 
has remained here during three centuries substantially 
the same, I should rather conclude that it is false 
because it has not been able during that period to remain 
the same abroad. To the standing, compulsory Tra- 
dition existing here, I ascribe its continuance here ; to 
fact and reason operating freely elsewhere, I ascribe 
its disappearance elsewhere. 

This view of the subject is confirmed to us, when we 
consider, on the one hand, the character of our coun- 
trymen, and on the other, the character of those 
instruments and methods by which the Tradition of 
Protestantism is perpetuated among them. It has 
been perpetuated, directly or indirectly, by the sanction 
of an oath, imposed on all those several sources of 
authority and influence, from which principles, doc- 
trines, and opinions are accustomed to flow. There 
is an established Tradition of law, and of the clergy, 

86 Fable the Basis of 

and of the court, and of the universities, and of 
literature, and of good society ; and all these act upon 
a people peculiarly susceptible of the claims of personal 
merit, of embodied authority, of constituted order, of 
rank, and of reputation in the world, and little sensitive 
in comparison of abstract argument, logical sequence, 
moral fitness, historical results, or foreign transactions. 
This was the point at which I stopped last week ; 
now I shall continue my investigation, and I shall 
introduce what I have to say by means of an objection. 


It may be objected, then, to the conclusions at which 
I have arrived, that I on my part have simply ignored 
the fact of the innumerable multitude of independent 
testimonies which every one of the divines, the scholars, 
the lawyers, the men of letters, the statesmen, the men 
of the world, who have made the last three centuries 
glorious in Britain, has borne in his turn, in favour of 
Protestantism, and to the disadvantage of the Catholic 

Bacon and Hooker, Taylor and Chillingworth, 
Hampden, Clarendon, and Falkland, Russell, Somers 
and Walpole, Hobbes and Locke, Swift and Addison, 
Hume and Robertson, Warburton and Horsley, Pitt 
and Fox, Walter Scott and Hallam, and a multitude 
of other illustrious names, nay, the whole host of 
educated men, are all separate authorities ; each speaks 
for himself; they do not copy, the one from the other : 
there are among them men of extensive reading, pro- 
found philosophy, intimate knowledge of the world; 
they are all men of intelligence, and at least able to give 

the Protestant View. 87 

an opinion. It is absurd to say otherwise. This simple 
consideration, it may be said, overthrows from its very 
foundation the argument drawn out in my last week's 
Lecture, about the traditional character of Protestantism 
in England. Indeed, my argument turns against my- 
self; for I incidentally allowed on that occasion that a 
number of distinct testimonies, conspiring together into 
one view or representation, was a real and sound reason, 
nay, among the strongest of conceivable reasons, in its 
behalf; now this is just the state of the case as regards 
the argument for Protestantism, as drawn from the 
common consent of the English court, clergy, bar, litera- 
ture, and general society. 

This is what will be said ; and I reply as follows : — I 
do not deny that there are great names on the side of 
Protestantism, which require to be considered by them- 
selves ; — minds, which certainly are superior to the 
influences of party, the prejudices of education, the 
suggestions of self-interest, the seductions of place and 
position, and the tyranny of public opinion. And again, 
there are Protestant arguments, clear and broad, which 
remain, whether Protestantism is received, or whether it is 
not. I allow all this : but now I am considering, not the 
Protestantism of the few, but of the many : those great 
men, and those philosophical arguments, whatever be their 
weight, have no influence with the many. Crowds do 
not assemble in Exeter Hall, mobs do not burn the 
Pope, from reverence for Lord Bacon, Locke, or Butler, 
or for anything those gifted men have recorded. I am 
treating of the unpopularity of Catholicism now and 
here, as it exists in the year 1851, and in London, or in 
Edinburgh, or in Birmingham, or in Bristol, or in Man- 

88 Fable the Basis of 

Chester, or in Glasgow; among the gentlemen and 
yeomen of Yorkshire, Devonshire, and Kent; in the Inns 
of Court, and in the schools and colleges of the land ; 
and I say this Tradition does not flow from the mouth 
of the half-dozen wise, or philosophic, or learned men 
who can be summoned in its support, but is a tradition of 
nursery stories, school stories, public-house stories, club- 
house stories, drawing-room stories, platform stories, 
pulpit stories ; — a tradition of newspapers, magazines, 
reviews, pamphlets, romances, novels, poems, and light 
literature of all kind, literature of the day ; — a tradition 
of selections from the English classics, bits of poetry, 
passages of history, sermons, chance essays, extracts 
from books of travel, anonymous anecdotes, lectures on 
prophecy, statements and arguments of polemical 
writers, made up into small octavos for class-books, 
and into pretty miniatures for presents; — a tradition 
floating in the air ; which we found in being when we 
first came to years of reason ; which has been borne in 
upon us by all we saw, heard, or read, in high life, in 
parliament, in law courts, in general society; which our 
fathers told us had ever been in their day ; a tradition, 
therefore, truly universal and immemorial, and good as 
far as a tradition can be good, but after all, not more 
than a tradition is worth : I mean, requiring some 
ultimate authority to make it trustworthy. Trace up, 
then, the tradition to its very first startings, its roots 
and its sources, if you are to form a judgment whether 
it is more than a tradition. It may be a good tradition, 
and yet after all good for nothing. "What profit, though 
ninety-nine links of a chain be sound, if the topmost is 
broken? JS'ow I do not hesitate to assert, that this 

the Protestant View. 89 

Protestant Tradition, on which English faith hangs, is 
wanting just in the first link. Fierce as are its advo- 
cates, and high as is its sanction, yet, whenever we can 
pursue it through the mist of immemorial reception in 
which it commonly vanishes, and can arrive at its 
beginnings, forthwith we find a flaw in the argument. 
Either facts are not forthcoming, or they are not sufii- 
cient for the purpose : sometimes they turn out to be 
imaginations or inventions, sometimes exaggerations, 
sometimes misconceptions: something or other comes 
to light which blunts their efiiciency, and throws 
suspicion on the rest. Testimonies which were quoted 
as independent turn out to be the same, or to be contra- 
dictory of each other, or to be too improbable to be true, 
or to have no good authority at all : so that our enemies 
find they cannot do better, after all, than fall back on 
the general reception of the Tradition itself, as a reason 
for receiving the Tradition ; and they find it prudent to 
convict us of all manner of crimes, on the simple ground 
of our being notoriously accused of them. 

Hard measure, scanty justice ! It is a principle of 
English law, that no one should bring a charge against 
another without being under the obligation of support- 
ing it. "Where should we be, any one of us — who 
would be safe — if any person who chose might, at any 
moment he would, impute to us what he pleased, bring 
us into court, call no witnesses, and obtain our convic- 
tion on his simple assertion ? Why, at very least, an 
accuser is bound to make oath of the truth of what he 
says ; and that is but the first step of an investigation, 
not the termination of the process. And he must 
swear to a fact, not to an opinion, not to a surmise, 

90 Fable the Basis of 

not to what he has heard others say, hut to what he 
has witnessed or knows. Nay, even though there be 
reasons for being sure of the guilt of the accused, it is 
a maxim of our law not to make him criminate himself, 
but to aim at convicting him by other means and by 
other men. It seems a plain dictate of common equity, 
that an accuser should have something to say for him- 
self, before he can put the accused on his defence. 

This righteous rule is simply set aside in the treat- 
ment of Catholics and their religion. Instead of the 
onus probandi, as it is called, the burden of proof, lying 
with the accuser, it is simply thrown upon the accused. 
Any one may get up of a sudden, and may say what he 
will to our prejudice, without producing any warrant 
at all for the truth of his charge. He is not called 
upon to establish his respectability, or to state his 
opportunities or methods of knowing ; he need not give 
presumptive proof of his allegation ; he need not give 
his authorities ; he need only accuse ; and upon this 
the Protestant public turns round to the poor Catholic, 
and asks what he has to say in his defence, as if he had 
yet anything to defend. There is a saying, that "a 
fool can ask more questions than a hundred wise men 
can answer : " and a bigot or a fanatic may be quite as 
successful. If a man presented himself this moment 
and said to me, *' You robbed a person in the street of 
his pocket-book some ten years ago," what could I 
possibly say, except simply, " I did not ? " How could 
I prove it was false, even if I took on myself to do so, 
till I was informed of the town, or the year, or the occa- 
sion, or the person on whom the pretended offence was 
committed ? Well, supposing my accuser went on to 

the Proieslant View. 9 1 

particulars, and said that I committed the crime in Bir- 
mingham, in the month of June, in the year 1840, and 
in the instance of a person of the name of Smith. 
This, of course, would be something, but no one would 
say even then that it was enough, that is, supposing I 
had to reply to him on the spot. At the very moment 
I might not be able to say where I was on the specified 
day, and so I could only repeat as emphatically as I 
was able, that the charge was utterly untrue. 

Next, supposing me to ask his reasons for advancing 
it ; — how he knew it was I ? did he see me ? or was he 
told by an eye-witness? and supposing he were to 
decline to give me any information whatever, but 
contented himself with saying " that I was shuffling 
and evasive, for the thing was quite notorious." And 
next, supposing I suddenly recollected that, up to the 
year 1845, I had never once been in Birmingham in 
the course of my life ; yet, on my stating this, the 
accuser were to cry out that I should not escape, in 
spite of my attempt to throw dust in his eyes ; for he 
had a score of witnesses to prove the fact, and that, as 
to the exact year, it was a mere point of detail, on 
which any one might be mistaken. And supposing, 
on this unsupported allegation, a magistrate, without 
witness brought, or oath administered, or plausibility 
in the narrative, in spite of the accuser's character, 
which was none of the best, in spite of the vagueness 
of his testimony, were to send me to prison, — I 
conceive public opinion would say I was shamefully 

But further, supposing when I was safely lodged in 
prison, some anonymous writer, in some third-ratd 

92 Fable the Basis of 

newspaper, were boldly to assert that all priests were 
in the practice of stealing pocket-books from pas- 
sengers in the streets ; and in proof thereof were to 
appeal first to the notorious case of a priest in Bir- 
mingham who had been convicted of the offence, and, 
then to the case of a second priest which was given in 
detail in some manuscript or other, contained some- 
where or other in the royal library of Munich, and 
occurring some time or other between the seventh and 
the seventeenth centuries ; and supposing, upon this 
anonymous article or letter, petitions were got up and 
signed numerously, and despatched to the Imperial 
Parliament, with the object of sending all priests to 
the treadmill for a period not exceeding six months, 
as reputed thieves, whenever they were found walking 
in the public thoroughfares ; — would this answer an 
Englishman's ideas of fairness or of humanity? 

Now I put it to the experience, — I put it to the 
conscience of the Protestant world, — whether such is not 
the justice which it deals out to Catholics as a matter 
of course. No evidence against us is too little ; no 
infliction too great. Statement without proof, though 
inadmissible in every other case, is all fair when we 
are concerned. A Protestant is at liberty to bring a 
charge against us, and challenge us to refute, not any 
proof he brings, for he brings none, but his simple 
assumption or assertion. And perhaps we accept his 
challenge, and then we find we have to deal with mat- 
ters so vague or so minute, so general or so particular, 
that we are at our wit's end to know how to grapple 
with them. For instance, " Every twentieth man you 
meet is a Jesuit in disguise ; " or, "Nunneries are, for 

the Protestant View. 93 

tlie most part, prisons." How is it possible to meet 
such sweeping charges ? The utmost we can do, in the 
nature of things, is to show that this particular man, 
or that, is not a Jesuit ; or that this or that particular 
nunnery is not a prison ; but who said he was ? — who 
said it was ? What our Protestant accuser asserted was, 
that every twentieth man was a Jesuit, and most nun- 
neries were prisons. How is this refuted by clearing 
this or that person or nunnery of the charge ? Thus, 
if the accuser is not to be called on to give proofs of 
what he says, we are simply helpless, and must sit 
down meekly under the imputation. 

At another time, however, a definite fact is stated, 
and we are referred to the authority on which it is put 
forward. "What is the authority ? Albertus Magnus, 
perhaps, or Gerson, or Baronius, with a silence about 
volume and page : their works consisting of five, ten, 
fifteen, twenty, or thirty folios, printed in double 
columns. How are we possibly to find the needle in 
this stack of hay ? Or, by a refinement of unfairness, 
perhaps a wrong volume or page is carelessly given ; 
and when we cannot find there the statement which our 
opponent has made, we are left in an unpleasant doubt 
whether our ill success is to be ascribed to our eyes or 
to his pen. 

Sometimes, again, the crime charged on us is brought 
out with such startling vividness and circumstantial 
finish as to seem to carry its own evidence with it, and 
to dispense, in the eyes of the public, with the references 
which in fairness should attend it. The scene is laid 
in some fortress of the savage Apennine, or in secluded 
Languedoc, or in remote Poland, or the high table-land 

94 Fable the Basis of 

of Mexico; or it is a legend about some priest of a 
small village of Calabria, called Buonavalle, in the 
fourteenth century ; or about a monk of the monastery 
of S. Spirito, in S. Filippo d'Argiro, in the time of 
Charlemagne. Or the story runs, that Don Felix 
Malatesta de Guadalope, a Benedictine monk of Anda- 
lusia, and father confessor to the Prince of the Astu- 
rias, who died in 1821, left behind him his confessions 
in manuscript, which were carried off by the French, 
with other valuable documents, from his convent, which 
they pillaged in their retreat from the field of Sala- 
manca; and that, in these confessions, he frankly avows 
that he had killed three of his monastic brothers of 
whom he was jealous, had poisoned half-a-dozen women, 
and sent off in boxes and hampers to Cadiz and Bar- 
celona thirty-five infants ; moreover, that he felt no 
misgivings about these abominable deeds, because, as 
he observes with great naivete, he had every day, for 
many years, burnt a candle to the Blessed Virgin ; 
had cursed periodically all heretics, especially the royal 
family of England; had burnt a student of Coimbra 
for asserting the earth went round the sun ; had worn 
about him, day and night, a relic of St Diego ; and had 
provided that five hundred masses should be said for 
the repose of his soul within eight days after his 

Tales such as this, the like of which it is very easy to 
point out in print, are suitably contrived to answer the 
purpose which brings them into being. A Catholic 
who, in default of testimony offered in their behalf, 
volunteers to refute them on their internal evidence, 
and sets about (so to say) cross-examining them, finds 

the Protestant View. 95 

himself at once in an untold labyrinth of embarrass- 
ments. First he inquires, is there a village in Calabria of 
the name of Buonavalle ? is there a convent of S. Spirito 
in the Sicilian town specified ? did it exist in the time 
of Charlemagne ? who were the successive confessors of 
the Prince of the Asturias during the first twenty years 
of this century ? what has Andalusia to do with Sala- 
manca ? when was the last Auto da fe in Spain ? did 
the French pillage any convent whatever in the neigh- 
bourhood of Salamanca about the year 1812 ? — ques- 
tions sufficient for a school examination. He goes to 
his maps, gazetteers, guide-books, travels, histories ; — 
soon a perplexity arises about the dates : are his editions 
recent enough for his purpose ? do their historical 
notices go far enough hack ? Well, after a great deal 
of trouble, after writing about to friends, consulting 
libraries, and comparing statements, let us suppose him 
to prove most conclusively the utter absurdity of the 
slanderous story, and to bring out a lucid, powerful, 
and unanswerable reply; who cares for it by that time? 
who cares for the story itself? it has done its work ; 
time stops for no man ; it has created or deepened the 
impression in the minds of its hearers that a monk com- 
mits murder or adultery as readily as he eats his dinner. 
Men forget the process by which they received it, but 
there it is, clear and indelible. Or supposing they 
recollect the particular slander ever so well, still they 
have no taste or stomach for entering into a long con- 
troversy about it ; their mind is already made up ; they 
have formed their views ; the author they have trusted 
may, indeed, have been inaccurate in some of his details ; 
it can be nothing more. Who can fairly impose on 

96 Fahle the Basis of 

them tlie perplexity and whirl of going through a bout 
of controversy, where " one says," and " the other says," 
and "Ae says that he says that he does not say or 
ought not to say what he does say or ought to say ? " 
It demands an eifort and strain of attention which 
they have no sort of purpose of bestowing. The 
Catholic cannot get a fair hearing; his book remains 
awhile in the shop windows, and then is taken down 
again. So true is this, from the nature of the human 
mind, that even though my present audience is well 
disposed, not hostile, to Catholicism, I should scarcely 
venture, in these Lectures, to enter into any minute 
investigation of this or that popular calumny, from my 
conviction that I should be detailing matters which, 
except in the case of the very few, would engross without 
interesting, and weary without making an impression. 

Yet I think I may be able still, or at least I will 
try, without taxing your patience to the utmost, to 
bring before you two or three actual specimens of the 
mode in which the accusation against Catholics is 
conducted ; which may serve to give you some insight 
into the value of the Tradition which king, lords, and 
commons are so zealous in upholding. The mighty 
Tradition flows on, replenished and refreshed continually 
by rivulets which, issuing from new fountain-heads, 
make their way, in faithful and unfailing succession, 
into the main stream. I am going to put my finger 
on three of these small fountain-heads of the Tradi- 
tion, — which, as I have already complained, are not 
commonly accessible ; — they shall not be springs of a 
vulgar quality, but they shall represent the intelligence, 
the respectability, and the strong sense of English society. 

the Protesta7it View, 97 

The first shall be a specimen of the Tradition of Liter- 
ature, the second of the Tradition of Wealth, and the 
third of the Tradition of Gentlemen. 


1. The first, which has to do with names well known 
in the aristocracy of talent and learning, will be some- 
what tedious, do what I will ; and I shall introduce it 
with a story. It is related by the learned Dr Bentley, 
in his controversy with Boyle, about a century and a 
half ago, on some point of historical criticism. In the 
course of that controversy, his opponent happened to 
spell wrongly the name of a Greek town ; and when he 
was set right, he made answer that it was the custom 
of our English writers so to spell it, and he proceeded 
to quote as many as five of them in proof of his 
assertion. On this Bentley observes, " An admirable 
reason, and worthy to be his own ; as if the most palpable 
error, that shall happen to obtain and meet with recep- 
tion, must therefore never be mended." After this, 
the " slashing" critic goes on to allude to the instance 
of an unlearned English priest, truly or not I know 
not, " who for thirty years together " (perhaps it was 
on taking the first ablution in the Mass) " had always 
said, ' Quod ore mumpsimus,' instead of ' Quod ore 
sumpsimus,' " and when, says Bentley, " a learned man 
told him of his blunder, ' I '11 not change,' says he, 
*my old Mumpsimus for your new Sumpsimus.' " Now, 
this happily applies to the subject which I am going 
to illustrate, as you will presently see. 

I need not remind you how much is said among Pro- 
testants of the gross ignorance and superstition of the 


98 Fable the Basis of 

middle age : indeed, we Catholics of the present date 
are considered its legitimate and veritable heirs. On 
this subject, one of the best read, most dispassionate, 
and deservedly esteemed writers of the present daj, 
who, if any one, might be supposed, in historical 
matters, an original authority, in his "View of the 
State of Europe during the Middle Ages," writes aa 
follows : — 

" In the very best view that can be taken of monas- 
teries," he says, after allowing that many might be 
above reproach, "their existence is deeply injurious to 
the general morals of a nation. They withdraw men 
of pure conduct and conscientious principle from the 
exercise of social duties, and leave the common mass 
of human vice more unmixed. Such men are always 
inclined to form schemes of ascetic perfection, which 
can only be fulfilled in retirement ; but, in the strict 
rules of monastic life, and under the influence of a gro- 
velling superstition, their virtue lost all its usefulness. 
They fell implicitly into the snares of crafty priests, 
who made submission to the Church, not only the 
condition, but the measure of all praise." Now comes 
the passage to which I am directing your attention. 
Observe, he is going on to his proof of what he has 
asserted. " He is a good Christian, says Eligius, a saint 
of the seventh century, who comes frequently to church, 
who presents an oblation that it may be offered to God 
on the altar ; who does not taste the fruits of his land 
till he has consecrated a part of them to God ; who 
can repeat the Creed or the Lord's Prayer. Redeem 
your souls from punishment, while it is in your power ; 
offer presents and tithes to churches, light candles in 

the Protestant View. 99 

holy places, as much as you can afford, come more fre- 
quently to church, implore the protection of the saints ; 
for, if you observe these things, you may come with 
security at the day of judgment to say, ' Give unto us, 
Lord, for we have given unto Thee ! ' " The author 
then continues, " With such a definition of the Chris- 
tian character^ it is not surprising that any fraud and 
injustice became honourable, when it contributed to the 
riches of the clergy and glory of their order." * 

Now observe, first, he quotes St Eligius, or Eloi, in 
order to show that Catholics were at that time taught 
that true Christianity consisted, not in the absence of 
fraud and injustice, or again, of immorality, hatred, or 
strife — but in merely coming to church, paying tithes, 
burning candles, and praying to the saints. But, 
observe next, he does not quote from St Eligius' own 
work, or refer to it on his own authority, but, well-read 
man as he is, notwithstanding, he is content to rely on 
the authority of two other writers, and (what many 
well-read men would have omitted to do) he candidly 
confesses it. He refers to Dr Eobertson, the Scotch 
historian, and the celebrated German historian and 
critic, Mosheim. I do not see, then, that much blame 
attaches to this writer for publishing what you will see 
presently is a most slanderous representation, beyond, 
indeed, his taking for granted the Protestant Tradi- 
tion, his exercising faith in it as true, his not doubting 
the fidelity of the two authors in question, and, there- 
fore, in a word, his saying " Mumpsimus," and pass- 
ing it on. 

Next we come to Dr Robertson, the historian of 

* Hallam's Middle Ages, vol. iii. p. 353. 

lOO Fable the Basis of 

Scotland, Charles the Fifth, and America, the friend of 
Hume, Adam Smith, Gibbon, and a host of literati of 
the latter part of last century. In his history of the 
reign of the Emperor Charles the Fifth, who lived at 
the time of the Eeformation, after observing that " the 
Christian religion degenerated, during those ages of 
darkness, into an illiberal superstition ; " that " the 
barbarous nations, instead of aspiring to sanctity and 
virtue^ imagined that they satisfied every obligation of 
duty by a scrupulous observance of external ceremonies^ 
— Dr Robertson annotates as follows : — '"''All the religious 
maxims and practices of the dark ages are a proof of 
this. I shall produce one remarkable testimony in con- 
firmation of it, from an author canonised by the Church 
of Rome, St Eloy, or Eligius." And then he proceeds 
to quote, nearly in the same words as Mr Hallam, 
though omitting some clauses and adding others, a 
translation from the passage which Mosheim sets down 
in his history, as if the original text of the saint's. 
And then he adds the remark of Dr Maclaine, Mos- 
lieim's English translator, whom he is jjleased to call 
" learned and judicious," and whose remark he calls a 
" very proper reflection." This remark is as follows : — 
" We see here," says Maclaine, " a large and ample 
description of the character of a good Christian, in 
which there is not the least mention of the love of God, 
resignation to His will, obedience to His laws, or of 
justice, benevolence, and charity towards men." Here, 
then, we trace our " Mumpsimus " a step higher; from 
Hallam to Robertson, from Robertson to the '' learned 
and judicious " Maclaine. 

Robertson and Maclaine were Scotchmen; but the 

the Protestant View. loi 

Tradition was not idle tlie while in the south either. 
There was a certain learned Mr White, well known, 
somewhat later than Eobertson, in the University of 
Oxford. He was Professor of Arabic in that seat of 
learning, and happened one year to preach a set of lec- 
tures, which added most considerably to his reputation. 
I should not have noticed the circumstances attending 
them, did they not throw light on the measure of author- 
ity due to the divines, scholars, historians, statesmen, 
lawyers, and polite writers, who are the doctors of the 
Protestant Tradition. The lectures in question, which 
are delivered at Oxford yearly, on some theological sub- 
ject, are in the appointment of the governors of the 
place ; who, feeling the responsibility attached to this 
exercise of patronage, anxiously look about for the safest, 
or the most brilliant, or the most rising, or the most 
distinguished of their members, to whom to commit the 
guardianship of Protestantism, and the fair fame of the 
University. Some such person Mr White was con- 
sidered ; and, on his appointment, he selected for his 
lectures a subject of great interest — the rise and genius of 
Mahomet and his religion. Of learning he had enough ; 
eloquence, perhaps, he wanted; yet what must have 
surprised his audience, when the time came for his 
exhibition, was the special elegance, splendour, and viva- 
city which showed themselves in his style. His periods, 
far from savouring of the austereness of an Oriental 
linguist, displayed the imagery, the antithesis, the flow, 
and the harmony of a finished rhetorician. The histo- 
rian Gibbon, no mean judge of composition, goes out 
of his way to speak of his lectures as " a volume of 
controversy" more " elegant and ingenious " than any 

102 Fable the Basis of 

Moliammedan pulpit was likely to liave produced, had 
Oxford become Mohammedan, instead of Protestant; and 
is pleased to observe that the writer " sustains the part 
of a lively and eloquent advocate," while he " sometimes 
rises to the merit of an historian and a philosopher." 
Such were the lectures delivered, and such was the 
reputation in consequence obtained by the Arabic Pro- 
fessor : however, after a time, it came to light that a 
great portion of the volume, at least many of its finest 
passages, were the writing of another. Indeed he was 
obliged to confess that he employed in the work, and 
actually paid for it, a country curate in Devonshire 
(who, I think, had once been a dissenting preacher), 
whom he supplied with the raw material of thought, and 
who returned it back to him in a dress suitable to the 
audience to whom it was to be presented. This was the 
man, who was getting credit for what was not his own, 
who, in treating of Mahomet, must make a diversion 
from his course — which never comes amiss in a Pro- 
testant volume — in order to bring a charge of incapa- 
bility and pretence against the Catholic Church ; and 
what should he unluckily choose for the instrument of 
his attack but the identical passage of St Eligius, and 
on that same authority of Mosheim, which we have 
already seen used by Hallam, Robertson, and Maclaine. 
Mr White writes thus : — 

"iVi? representation can convey stronger ideas of the 
melancholy state of religion in the seventh century, than 
the description of the character of a good Christian, as 
drawn at that period by St Eligius, or Eloi, Bishop of 
Noj'^on." And then he quotes the extract, already cited, 
from the pages of Mosheim. 

the Protestant View. 103 

And now we are approaching tlie fountain-head of 
the Tradition, but first I must just allude to one other 
author of name, who bears the same testimony to 
" Mumpsimus," and simply on the same authority. 
This is an elegant writer, a divine and an Archdeacon of 
the Established Church, Jortin, who in the year 1773, 
published "Remarks on Ecclesiastical History." lu 
the table of contents prefixed to the third volume, we 
are referred to " Eligius' system of Eeligion ; " and 
turning to the page set against that descriptive title, 
we are told, " In this seventh century, . . monkery 
flourished prodigiously, and the monks and Popes were 
in the firmest union. As to true religion, here is the 
sum and substance of it, as it is drawn up for us by Eli- 
gius, one of the principal saints of that age." And then 
follows the cut-and-dried passage as given by Mosheim. 

Now, at last, let us proceed to the first father of 
Mumpsimus, the Lutheran Mosheim himself. His 
words run thus in his Ecclesiastical History: '' During 
this century (the seventh) true religion lay buried 
under a senseless mass of superstitions, and was unable 
to raise her head. The earlier Christians . . . taught 
that Christ had made expiation for the sins of men by 
His death and His blood; the latter" (those of the 
seventh century) "seemed to inculcate that the gates of 
heaven would be closed against none who should enrich 
the clergy or the Church with their donations. The 
former were studious to maintain a holy simplicity, and 
to follow a pure and chaste piety, the latter place the 
substance of religion in external rites and bodily exer- 
cises.'''' And then, in order to illustrate this contrast, 
which he has drawn out, between the spirituality of the 

I04 Fable the Basis of 

first Christians and the formality of the Papists, he 
quotes the famous passage which has been the matter 
of our investigation. 

Brothers of the Oratory, take your last look at the 
Protestant Tradition, ere it melts away into thin air 
from before your eyes. It carries with it a goodly 
succession of names, Mosheim, Jortin, Maclaine, 
Robertson, White, and Hallam. It extends from 1755 
to the year 1833. But in this latter year, when it was 
now seventy-eight years old, it met with an accident 
attended with fatal consequences. Some one for the 
first time, instead of blindly following the traditional 
statement, thought it worth while first to consult St 
Eligius himself. His work is in every good library ; 
but to no one had it occurred to take it down from the 
shelf, till the present Protestant Dean of Durham, 
Dr Waddington, who was engaged in publishing an 
Ecclesiastical History at the date I have named. At 
first, indeed, he relied on his Protestant masters ; and, 
taking Mosheim for his guide, and quoting St Eligius 
from Mosheim' s volume, he observes that, as the saint 
was " a person of influence in his day, we may venture 
to record what, in his opinion, was the sum and sub- 
stance of true religion." Then follows the old extract. 
This is at the 153d page of Dr Waddington's work ; 
but, by the time he got to page 298, he had turned to 
the original, and the truth came out. He found that 
the received Protestant extract was only a small por- 
tion, nay, only sentences picked out here and there, of 
a very long sermon, — other sentences, of which, close 
by, and in the very midst of those actually quoted, 
contained all those very matters, the supposed absence 

the Protestant View, 105 

of wliich was the very ciiarge brought against St 
Eligius by Mosheim, Maclaine, Eobertson, Jortin, 
White, and Hallam. They, forsooth, pure Protestants, 
had been so shocked and scandalised, that there was 
nothing of moral virtue in the saint's idea of a Chris- 
tian, nothing of love of God or of man ; nothing of 
justice, of truth, of knowledge, of honesty ; whereas, 
in matter of fact, there turned out to be an abundance 
of these good things, dra^Yn out in sentences of their 
own, though certainly not in the other sentences which 
those authors had extracted. I will quote what Dr 
Waddington says, on his discovery of his mistake : — 

He says that " the sense, and even the words " of 
the passage which he had cited, "had been previously 
retailed both by Robertson and Jortin, and the original 
quoted by Mosheim; "but that he had since "been 
led to look more particularly into the life of Eligius, 
as it is published in the ' Spicilegium Dacherii ? ' " 
Then, he continues, "he" — that is himself, the 
Author — " was pleased to discover many excellent 
precepts and pious exhortations scattered among the 
strange matter " — so he speaks as a Protestant — 
" with which it abounds. But at the same time it was 
with great sorrow and some shame, that he ascertained 
the treachery of his historical conductor," that is, 
Mosheim. " The expressions cited by Mosheim," he 
continues, " and cited, too, with a direct reference to 
the ' Spicilegium,' " in which the Sermon is contained, 
" were forcibly brought together hy a very unpardonable 
mutilation of his authority. They are to be found, 
indeed, in a Sermon preached by the Bishop, but found 
in the society of so many good and Christian maxims^ 

lo6 Fable the Basis of 

that it had been charitable entirely to overlook them, 
as it was certainly unfair to weed them out and heap 
them together, without notice of the rich harvest that 
surrounds them." 

He then proceeds to quote some of those exhortations 
of the Saint to which he alludes, and which Mosheim had 
omitted. For instance : — " Wherefore, my brethren, 
love your friends in Grod, and love your enemies for 
Grod, for he who loveth his neighbour hath fulfilled 
the law. ... He is a good Christian who believes not 
in charms or inventions of the devil, but places the 
whole of his hope in Christ alone ; who receives the 
stranger with joy, as though he were receiving Christ 
himself, . . . who gives alms to the poor in proportion 
to his possessions, . . . who has no deceitful balances or 
deceitful measures, . . . who both lives chastely him- 
self, and teaches his neighbours and his children to live 
chastely, and in the fear of God. . . . Behold, ye have 
heard, my brethren, what sort of people good Chris- 
tians are . . . to the end that ye be true Christians, 
always ponder the precepts of Christ in your mind, 
and also fulfil them in your practice. . . . Keep peace 
and charity, recal the contentious to concord, avoid 
lies, tremble at perjury, bear no false witness, commit 
no theft, . . . observe the Lord's day, ... do as you 
would be done by, . . . visit the infirm, . . . seek out 
those who are in prison." So the holy Bishop pro- 
ceeds ; and then he adds, " If you observe these things^ 
you may appear boldly at God's tribunal in the day of 
judgment, and say. Give Lord, as we have given." 
Scattered about in the midst of these exhortations, are 
the few sentences, excellent also, in spite of Dr Wad- 

the Protestant View. 107 

dington, thongli they are not tlie whole of Christianity, 
which the Protestant writers have actually quoted. 

Such is the Sermon upon which Dr Maclaine makes 
this (as Dr Robertson thinks) " very proper reflection :" 
"We see here a large and ample description of the 
character of a good Christian, in which there is not 
the least mention of the love of God, resignation to His 
will, obedience to His laws, or justice, benevolence, or 
charity towards men." But as Mosheim and his fol- 
lowers have their opinion of St Eligius, so, in turn, 
has Dr Waddington his opinion of Mosheim. " The 
impression," he says, "which" Mosheim, by " string- 
ing together " certain sentences "without any notice of 
the context, conveys to his readers, is wholly false; and 
the calumny thus indirectly cast upon his author is not 
the less reprehensible, because it falls on one of the 
obscurest saints in the Roman calendar. If the very 
essence of history be truth, and if any deliberate 
violation of that be sinful in the profane annalist, 
still less can it deserve pardon or mercy in the historian 
of the Church of Christ." 

This, as I have said, took place in 1833 : two years 
later the exposure was repeated, in a brilliant paper 
inserted by Dr Maitland in an Ecclesiastical Magazine; 
the Editor, moreover, drawing the especial attention of 
his readers to his correspondent's remarks.* 

However, after all — after surveying the whole course 
of the exposure — I could not help expressing to myself 
my intense misgivings that the efforts of Dr Wadding- 
ton and Dr Maitland to do justice to the saint would 
be in vain. I knew enough of the Protestant mind, to 

* I do not add Dr Lingard, as being a Catholic authority. 

io8 Fable the Basis of 

be aware how little the falsehood of any one of its tradi- 
tions is an effectual reason for its relinquishing it ; 
and I find too truly that I was not mistaken in my 
anticipation. Mumpsimus still reigns. In a new 
edition of Mosheim's history, published in 1841, the 
editor, a recent successor of Mr White in the Oxford 
lectures, reprints those precious legacies, the text of 
Mosheim, the ''very proper reflection" of Maclaine, 
and the garbled quotation from St Eligius, for the 
benefit of the rising generation of divines, without a 
word of remark, or anything whatever to show that a 
falsehood had been recklessly uttered, a falsehood 
blindly perpetuated, a falsehood luminously exposed. 


2. I have given you, my Brothers, a specimen of the 
Tradition of Literature ; now I proceed to the Tradition 
of Wealth, Respectability, Virtue, and Enlightened 
Religion ; for all these, in a country like ours, are 
supposed to go together, the Tradition of our merchants, 
traders, and men of business, and of all who have any- 
thing to lose, and are, therefore, conscientiously attached 
to the Constitution. And I shall select, as the organ 
of their Tradition, a writer whom they will at once 
acknowledge to be an unexceptionable representative of 
their ideas. If there be a periodical of the day which 
lays claim to knowledge of this globe, and of all that 
is in it, which is Catholic in its range of subjects, its 
minute curiosity, and its world-wide correspondence, 
which has dealings with all the religions of the earth, 
and ought to have the largeness and liberality of view 
which such manifold intercourse is calculated to create, 

the Protestant View. 109 

it is the " Times" newspaper. No men avow so steady 
a devotion to the great moral precepts embodied in the 
Decalogue, as its conductors, or profess so fine a sense of 
honour and duty, or are so deeply conscious of their own 
influence on the community, and of the responsibilities 
which it involves, or are so alive to the truth of the 
maxim, that, in the general run of things, honesty is 
the best policy. What noble, manly, disinterested 
sentiments do they utter ! what upright intention, 
strong sense, and sturdy resolution, are the staple of 
their compositions I what indignation do they manifest 
at the sight of vice or baseness ! what detestation of 
trickery ! what solemn resolve to uphold the oppressed ! 
what generous sympathy with innocence calumniated ! 
what rising of heart against tyranny ! what gravity of 
reprobation ! how, when Catholic and Protestant are in 
fierce political antagonism, they can mourn over breaches 
of charity, in which they protest the while they had no 
share ! with what lively sensibility and withering scorn 
do they encounter the accusation, made against them by 
rivals every half-dozen years, of venality or tergiversa- 
tion ! If anywhere is to be found the sternness of those 
who are severe because they are pure — who may securely 
cast stones, for none can cast at them — who, like the 
Cherub in the poem, are '"'• faithful found among the 
faithless" — you would say that here at length you had 
found the incorruptible and infallible, the guides in a 
bad world, who, amid the illusions of reason and the 
sophistries of passion, see the path of duty on all ques- 
tions whatever, with a luminousness, a keenness, and a 
certainty special to themselves. When, then, I would 
illustrate the value of the An ti- Catholic Tradition, as 

I lo Fable the Basis of 

existing among the money-making classes of the com- 
munity, I cannot fix upon a more suitable sample than 
the statements of these accomplished writers. Accord- 
ingly I refer to their columns ; and towards the end of a 
leading article, in the course of the last month or six 
weeks, I find the following sentence : — " It is the 
practice, as our readers are aware, in Roman Catholic 
countries, for the clergy to post up a list of all the crimes 
to which human frailty can be tempted, placing opposite 
to them the exact sum of money for which their perpe- 
tration will be indulged."* And what makes this state- 
ment the more emphatic, is the circumstance that, 
within two or three sentences afterwards, — ever mind- 
ful, as I have said, of the Tables of the Law, — the writer 
takes occasion to refer to the divine prohibition, "Thou 
shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. " 

Such is a specimen of the Tradition, marvellous to 
say, as it exists among the classes who are well-to-do 
in the world. You see, they are so clear on the point, 
that, for all their mercantile sense of the value of cha- 
racter, their disgust at false intelligence, their severity 
with fraud, and their sensitiveness at libel, they have 
no hesitation in handing down to the next generation 
this atrocious imputation, that the Catholic Church 
proclaims that she is commissioned by the Moral 
Governor of the world to bestow on her children per- 
mission to perpetrate any sin whatever, for which they 
have a fancy, on condition of their paying her a price 
in money for that perpetration, in proportion to the 
heinousness of the ofience. 

Now this accusation is not only so grave in itself, 

* June 1851. 

the Protesta7it View. 1 1 1 

but, miserable to say, is so industriously circulated, that, 
before using it for the purpose for which I have intro- 
duced it, in order to remove all suspicion against us, I 
am induced to go out of my way to enunciate, as briefly 
and as clearly as I can, what the Catholic Church really 
does teach upon the subject.* The charge in question 
then rests on a confusion between the forgiveness of 
sins and admission to Church communion^ two ideas per- 
fectly distinct from each other, both in themselves and 
in Catholic theology. Every scandalous sin contains 
in it, as we consider, two separate offences, the offence 
against God, and the offence against the Church ; just 
as Protestants would allow that murder is at once a 
sin against God and our neighbour, a sin in the eyes 
of God, and a crime in the eyes of the law. And, 
as human society has the arbitrary power of assign- 
ing punishments to offences against itself, heavy or 
light, or of overlooking the offence altogether, or of 
remitting the penalty when imposed, so has the Church. 
And as the magistrate often inflicts a fine, under sanc- 
tion of the law, instead of committing to prison, so 
does the Church allow of the commutation of her own 
punishments, which are called censures, into alms to 
the poor, into offerings for some religious object, or 
even into the mere paying the expenses of the process, 
that is, the costs of the suit. And as the connivance 
or free pardon of the magistrate is no pardon in the 
sight of Heaven of the adulterer or the burglar, nor is 
supposed to be such, so neither does the offender 

* The subject of indulgences does not enter into the charge as con- 
tained in the extract from the " Times ; " but I purpose to add a word 
about it before the end of the Volume. 

1 1 2 Fable the Basis of 

receive, nor is lie promised, any forgiveness of his sin, 
either by the Church's taking off the censure (whether 
in consequence of an almsgiving or otherwise), or by her 
forbearing, which is the common case, to inflict cen- 
sure altogether. It is true, the Church has the power 
of forgiving sins also, which I shall speak of directly ; 
but this is by a different instrument, and by a totally 
different process, as every Catholic knows. 

I repeat, the Catholic who perpetrates any great and 
public sin offends his Maker, and offends his ecclesias- 
tical Society ; the injury against his Maker is punished 
by an ipso facto separation from His favour ; the 
injury against his Society, when it is visited at all, is 
visited by excommunication or other spiritual infliction. 
The successor of St Peter has the power committed to 
him of pardoning both offences, the offence against 
God and the offence against the Church ; he is the 
ultimate source of all jurisdiction, whether external or 
internal, but he commonly restores such a sinner to the 
visible society of Christians, by an act of his own or of 
the metropolitan or ordinary, and he reconciles him to 
God by the agency of the priesthood. Repentance is 
required on the part of the offender for both restora- 
tions ; but the sin is forgiven and its punishment 
remitted only in one of them, — viz. , in the sacrament of 
Penance ; and in this Sacrament, in which is the only 
real pardon, no money is, or ever can be paid. The 
Sacrament cannot be bought ; such an act would be a 
horrible crime ; you know this, my Brothers, as I know 
it myself; we witness to each other that such is the 
received teaching among us. It is utterly false then to 
assert that it has ever been held in the Catholic Church 

the Protestant View. 113 

that " tlie perpetration of crime could be indulged " 
for any sum of money. Neither for sins committed, 
nor sins to come, has money ever been taken as an 
equivalent, for one no more than for the other. On the 
other hand, it is quite true that the injury done to the 
Church, when it happens to have been visited with a 
censure (which is not a common case), has certainly 
sometimesbeen compensated by the performance of some 
good work, and in the number of such works, almsdeeds 
and religious offerings are included. I repeat, the Church 
as little dreams of forgiving the sinner by removing the 
censure and readmitting him to public communion, as 
the magistrate by letting a culprit out of prison. 

And in matter of fact, the two acts, the external 
reconciliation and the inward absolution, are not neces- 
sarily connected together. The Church is composed of 
bad as well as good, according to the Parable, which 
prophesied that the net should gather of every kind ; 
a man then may be readmitted to visible fellowship on 
a general profession of repentance, yet when he pro- 
ceeds to the Sacrament of Penance, may be unable to 
satisfy the priest that his repentance is sincere, and 
thus may fail of absolution. Then he would be in a 
case, alas ! so commonly found in the Church, and ever 
to be found — viz., allowed to attend mass, to hear ser- 
mons, to take part in rites, offices, and processions, and 
regarded as a Christian, yet debarred from the use of 
the Sacraments, deprived of Penance and of Holy 
Eucharist, getting no benefit from Indulgences, merit- 
ing nothing for his salvation, but on the contrary 
being separate from his God, and lying under His 
wrath, and a dead branch, though he has offered his 


114 Fable the Basis of 

alms, and is visibly connected with the trunk. On the 
other hand, it is quite conceivable in idea, that the 
spiritual reconciliation, that is, the forgiveness of sin, 
might be bestowed without the external or ecclesiastical 
restoration. Something like this took place, I think, 
in the case of the Emperor Napoleon, who, up to the 
time of his death, lay under the censures of the Church, 
and was excommunicate, yet in his last days expressed 
a desire to be reconciled to God. To the ecclesiastical 
society whom he had offended, he was not publicly 
reconciled ; but it is never too late to be saved ; he 
confessed, he received the priest's reconciliation to the 
Church and to God ; and if his repentance was true, he 
departed with an absolute certainty of heaven, though 
he had not received that pontifical restoration to the 
visible body to which offerings and alms have some- 
times been attached.* 

However, in spite of the clear and broad distinction 
I have been laying down, it is the Tradition of Pro- 
testantism, immutable and precise, as expressed in the 
words of its eminent Teacher and Doctor I have quoted, 
that the Catholic Church professes to forgive sins past 
and to come, on the payment of a price. So it has come 
down to us, so it will flow on ; and the mighty flood of 
falsehood is continually fed and kept to the full by fresh 
and fresh testimonies, separate and independent, till 
scepticism is overcome and opposition is hopeless. And 
now I am going to give you an account of one of these 
original authorities, as they are considered, who has lately 

* I think I recollect an alsolutio post mortem, when La Belle Poule 
was sent out for his remains. I do not forget the passage in the Council, 
Pie admodum, ne hac ipsd occasions quis pereat, &c. Sess. 14, de Pceu. 
c. 7. Vide Ferrari's Biblioth. v. Absol. art. i. 55-57.' 

the Protestant View. 1 1 5 

presented himself to the world, in the person of a zealous 
Protestant clergyman, who once visited Belgium, and 
on occasion of the late outcry about " Popish Aggres- 
sion " was moved to give his brethren the benefit of his 
ocular testimony in behalf of one of the most flagrant 
abuses and abominations of " that corrupt Church." 

His account, given at a public meeting, was to the 
following effect: — That in the year 1835, when on a visit 
to Brussels, he was led to inspect the door of the Cathe- 
dral, St Gudule's ; and that there he saw fastened up a 
catalogue of sins, with a specification of the prices at 
which remission of each might severally be obtained. 
No circumstance, it would appear, called for his 
giving this information to the world for the long space of 
sixteen years ; and it is a pity, for the Protestant cause, 
that another sixteen did not pass before circumstances 
suggested his doing so. "Why did he not consign it to 
some safe volume of controversy, weighty enough for 
England, too heavy for the Channel, instead of com- 
mitting it to the wings of the wind and the mercy of 
reporters? Then tranquilly and leisurely would the 
solemn tale have ventured out upon platforms and into 
pulpits, when contemporaries were gone, and would 
have taken its place beside my own Don Felix of An- 
dalusia and similar worthies of Exeter Hafl. But the 
fates willed otherwise ; the accessory was to join the main 
stream at once, and to its surprise to be tumbled vio- 
lently into its bed. The noise drew attention; curiosity 
was excited ; the windings of the infant rill were pre- 
maturely tracked to its source ; so we can now put our 
finger on the first welling of its waters, and we can 
ascertain the composition of a Protestant tradition. 

1 1 6 Fable the Basis of 

On tlie news of this portentous statement getting to 
Brussels, it excited a commotion wliicli it could not 
rouse among the Catholics of England. "We are 
familiarised to calumny, and have learned resignation ; 
the good Belgians were surprised and indignant at what 
they had thought no sane man would have ventured to 
advance. Forthwith a Declaration was put forth by 
the persons especially interested in the Cathedral, cate- 
gorically denying the charge. It is signed by the Dean 
of Brussels, who is also cure of the Cathedral, by his 
four assistant clergymen, by the churchwardens, by 
the judge of the high court of justice, and two other 
judges, and by others. They observe that they had 
privately asked the accuser to withdraw his state- 
ment, and on his refusal they made the following terse 
Declaration : — 

" The undersigned look upon it as a duty to come 
forward and protest against the allegations of the " 
clergyman in question. "They declare, upon their 
honour, that such a notice as the one spoken of by the 
said clergyman has never disgraced the entrance, either 
of the church of St Gudule, or of any other church of 
Brussels, or of the whole country. They further de- 
clare, that they have never even suspected for one instant 
that permission to sin could, for any possible motive, 
be granted, nor that any one could ever obtain remis- 
sion of his sins for money. Such a doctrine they re- 
pudiate with indignation, as it is, and always has been, 
repudiated by the whole of the Catholic Church." 
This Declaration is dated, " Brussels, April 2, 1851." 

One thing alone was wanting to complete the refuta- 
tion of the slander ; and that was, to account how its 

the P'>'otestant View. 117 

author was betrayed into so extraordinary a misrepre- 
sentation. No one will accuse a respectable person ot 
wilful and deliberate falsehood: did his eyes or his 
memory deceive him? or did he really see something on 
the door, which he wrongly translated and interpreted 
by his prejudices? That the latter is the true explanation 
of the phenomenon, is probable from a piece of infor- 
mation with which a Brussels' journal supplies us. I 
daresay you know that in cathedrals and large churches 
abroad chairs are used for worship instead of benches ; 
and they are generally farmed by the beadles or others 
attached to the church, who let them out to all comers at 
the price of a small copper coin every time they are 
used. Now, it so happens that on the right-hand door 
of the transept of this church of St Gudule there really 
is affixed a black board, on which there is a catalogue 
in the French language of the price to be paid, not for 
sins, but for the use of these chairs. The inscription 
translated runs as follows : — " A chair without cushion, 
one cent (about a farthing); a chair with cushions, 
two cents. On great festival days ; a chair without 
cushion, two cents ; a chair with cushion, four cents." 
This board, it may be supposed, our anti-Catholic 
witness mistook for that abominable sin-table, the 
description of which so deservedly shocked the zealous 
Protestants of Faversham. 

Such is the ultimate resolution, as detected in a 
particular instance, of that uniform and incontestable 
Protestant Tradition, that we sell sin for money. The 
exposure happened in March and April ; but Protest- 
antism is infallible, and the judgment of its doctors 
irreversible; accordingly, in the following June, the 

1 1 8 Fable the Basis of 

newspaper I have mentioned thought it necessary to 
show that the Tradition was not injured by the blow ; 
so out came the Tradition again, " though brayed in a 
mortar," not at all the worse for the accident, in that 
emphatic statement which I quoted when I opened the 
subject, and which I now quote again that I am closing 
it. " It is the practice,'" the writer pronounces ex 
cathedra^ " as our readers are aware ^ in Roman Catholic 
countries to post up a list of all the crimes to which 
human frailty can be tempted, placing opposite to them 
the exact sum of money for which their perpetration 
will be indulged." 


3. Two of my instances are dispatched, and now I 
come to my third. There is something so tiresome in 
passing abruptly from one subject to another, that I 
need your indulgence, my Brothers, in making this 
third beginning ; yet it has been difficult to avoid it, 
when my very object is to show what extensive subject 
matters and what different classes of the community 
are acted on by the Protestant Tradition. Now I am 
proceeding to the Legislature of the Nation, and will 
give an instance of its operation in a respectable politi- 
cal party. 

Its fountain springs up in this case, as it were, under 
our very feet, and we shall have no difficulty at all in 
judging of its quality. Its history is as follows : — 
Coaches, omnibuses, carriages, and cars, day after day 
drive up and down the Hagley Road; passengers lounge 
to and fro on the foot-path ; and close alongside of it 
are discovered one day the nascent foundations and 
rudiments of a considerable building. On inquiring. 

the Protestant View. 1 1 9 

it is found to be intended for a Catholic, nay, even for 
a monastic establishment. This leads to a good deal of 
talk, especially when the bricks begin to show above the 
surface. Meantime the unsuspecting architect is taking 
his measurements, and ascertains that the ground is far 
from lying level ; and then, since there is a prejudice 
among Catholics in favour of horizontal floors, he comes 
to the conclusion that the bricks of the basement must 
rise above the surface higher at one end of the building 
than at the other ; in fact, that whether he will or no, 
there must be some construction of the nature of a 
vault or cellar at the extremity in question, a circum- 
stance not at all inconvenient, considering it also 
happens to be the kitchen end of the building. Accord- 
ingly, he turns his necessity into a gain, and by the 
excavation of a few feet of earth, he forms a number 
of chambers convenient for various purposes, partly 
beneath, partly above the line of the ground. While he 
is thus intent on his work, loungers, gossipers, alarm- 
ists are busy at theirs too. They go round the building, 
they peep into the underground brickwork, and are 
curious about the drains ; * they moralise about Popery 

* It is undeniable, though the gentleman who has brought the matter 
before the public has accidentally omitted to mention it, that the Protest- 
ant feeling has also been excited by the breadth of the drain, which is 
considered excessive, and moreover crosses the road. There exists some 
nervousness on the subject in the neighbourhood, as I have been seriously 
given to understand. There is a remarkable passage, too, in the scientific 
report, which our accuser brings forward, and which has never been 
answered or perhaps construed : " One of the compartments was larger 
than the rest, and was evidently to be covered in without the building over it." 
This is not the first time a dwelling of mine has been the object of a 
mysterious interest. When our cottages at Littlemore were in course 
of preparation, they were visited on horseback and on foot by many of 
the most distinguished residents of the University of Oxford, Heads of 
houses and canons did not scruple to investigate the building within and 

1 20 Fable the Basis of 

and its spread; at length they trespass upon the 
inclosure, they dive into the half-finished shell, and 
they take their fill of seeing what is to he seen, and 
imagining what is not. Every house is built on an 
idea ; you do not build a mansion like a public ofiice, or 
a palace like a prison, or a factory like a shooting box, 
or a church like a barn. Religious houses, in like 
manner, have their own idea ; they have certain indis- 
pensable peculiarities of form and internal arrangement. 
Doubtless, there was much in the very idea of an Ora- 
tory perplexing to the Protestant intellect, and incon- 
sistent with Protestant notions of comfort and utility. 
Why should so large a room be here ? why so small a 
room there ? why a passage so long and wide ? and why 
so long a wall without a window ? the very size of the 
house needs explanation. Judgments which had em- 
ployed themselves on the high subject of a Catholic 
hierarchy and its need, found no difficulty in dogma- 
tising on bedrooms and closets. There was much to 
suggest matter of suspicion, and to predispose the tres- 
passer to doubt whether he had yet got to the bottom of 
the subject. At length one question flashed upon his mind : 
what can such a house have to do with cellars ? cellars 
and monks, what can be their mutual relation? monks 
— to what possible use can they put pits, and holes, and 
corners, and outhouses, and sheds ? A sensation was 
created ; it brought other visitors ; it spread ; it became 
an impression, a belief; the truth lay bare; a tradition 
was born ; a fact was elicited which thenceforth had 

without, and some of them went so far as to inspect and theorise upon 
the most retired portions of the premises. Perhaps some thirty years 
hence, in some " History of my own Times," speculations may be found 
on the subject, in aid of the Protestant Tradition. 

the Protestant View. 121 

many witnesses. TJiose cellars were cells. How obvious 
when once stated! and every one who entered the 
building, every one who passed by, became, I say, in 
some sort, ocular vouchers for what had often been read 
of in books, but for many generations had happily been 
unknown to England, for the incarcerations, the tor- 
turings, the starvings, the immurings, the murderings 
proper to a monastic establishment. 

Now I am tempted to stop for a while in order to 
improve (as the evangelical pulpits call it) this most 
memorable discovery. I will therefore briefly consider 
it under the heads of — 1. the accusation; 2. its 


First. — The Accusation. — It is this, — that the Catho- 
lics, building the house in question, were in the practice 
of committing murder. This was so strictly the charge, 
that, had the platform selected for making it been other 
than we know it to have been, I suppose the speaker 
might have been indicted for libel. His words were 
these : — " It was not usual for a coroner to hold an 
inquest^ unless where a rumour had got abroad that there 
was a necessity for one ; and how was a rumour to come 
from the underground cells of the convents? Yes, he 
repeated, underground cells : and he would tell them 
something about such places. At this moment, in the 
parish of Edgbaston, within the borough of Birming- 
ham, there was a large convent, of some kind or 
other, being erected, and the whole of the under- 
ground was fitted up with cells ; and what were those 
cells for?'' 

Secondly. — The Grounds of the Accusation. — 
They are simple; behold them: 1. That the house is 

12 2 Fable the Basis of 

built level ; 2. and that tlie plot of eartli on which it is 
built is higher at one end than at the other. 

Thirdly. — The Accusers. — This, too, throws light 
upon the character of Protestant traditions. Not weak 
and ignorant people only, not people at a distance — 
but educated men, gentlemen well connected, high in 
position, men of business, men of character, members 
of the legislature, men familiar with the locality, men 
who know the accused by name, — such are the men 
who deliberately, reiteratedly, in spite of being set 
right, charge certain persons with pitiless, savage 
practices; with beating and imprisoning, with starving, 
with murdering their dependants. 

Fourthly. — The Accused. — I feel ashamed, my 
Brothers, of bringing my own matters before you, when 
far better persons have suffered worse imputations ; 
but bear with me. I then am the accused. A gentle- 
man of blameless character, a county member, with 
whose near relatives I have been on terms of almost 
fraternal intimacy for a quarter of a century, who 
knows me by repute far more familiarly (I suppose) 
than any one in this room knows me, putting aside my 
personal friends ; he it is who charges me, and others 
like me, with delighting in blood, with enjoying the 
shrieks and groans of agony and despair, with presiding 
at a banquet of dislocated limbs, quivering muscles, 
and wild countenances. Oh, what a world is this ! 
Could he look into our eyes and say it? Would he 
have the heart to say it, if he recollected of whom he 
said it ? For who are we ? Have we lived in a corner ? 
have we come to light suddenly out of the earth ? We 
have been nourished, for the greater part of our lives^ 

the Protestant View. 123 

in the bosom of the great schools and universities of 
Protestant England ; we have been the foster sons of 
the Edwards and Henries, the Wykehams and Wolseys, 
of whom Englishmen are wont to make much; we 
have grown up amid hundreds of contemporaries, 
scattered at present all over the country, in those 
special ranks of society which are the very walk of a 
member of the legislature. Our names are better 
known to the educated classes of the country than 
those of any others who are not public men. Moreover, 
if there be men in the whole world who may be said to 
live in publico^ it is the members of a College at one of 
our Universities ; living, not in private houses, not in 
families, but in one or two apartments which are open 
to all the world, at all hours, with nothing, I may say, 
their own ; with college-servants, a common table, — 
nay, their chairs and their bedding, and their cups and 
saucers, down to their coal-scuttle and their carpet 
brooms, — a sort of common property, and the right of 
their neighbours. Such is that manner of life, — in 
which nothing, I may say, can be hid ; where no trait 
of character or peculiarity of conduct but comes to 
broad day — such is the life I myself led for above a 
quarter of a century, under the eyes of numbers who 
are familiarly known to my accusers ; such is almost 
the life which we all have led ever since we have been 
in Birmingham, with our house open to all comers, 
and ourselves accessible, I may almost say, at any 
hour; and this being so, considering the charge^ and 
the evidence^ and the accuser^ and the accused, could 
we Catholics desire a more apposite illustration of the 
formation and the value of a Protestant Tradition ? 

1 24 Fable the Basis of 

I set it down for the benefit of time to come ; 
" though for no other cause," as a great author says, 
" yet for this : that posterity may know we have not 
loosely, through silence, permitted things to pass away 
as in a dream, there shall be for men's information 
extant thus much." One commonly forgets such 
things, from the trouble and inconvenience of having to 
remember them ; let one specimen last, of many which 
have been suffered to perish, of the birth of an anti- 
Catholic tradition. The nascent fable has indeed 
failed, as the tale about the Belgian sin-table has failed, 
but it might have thriven : it has been lost by bad 
nursing; it ought to have been cherished awhile in 
those underground receptacles where first it drew 
breath, till it could comfortably bear the light ; till 
its limbs were grown, and its voice was strong, and we 
on whom it bore had run our course, and gone to our 
account ; and then it might have raised its head with- 
out fear and without reproach, and might have magis- 
terially asserted what there was none to deny. But 
men are all the creatures of circumstances ; they are 
hurried on to a ruin which they may see, but cannot 
evade : so has it been with the Edgbaston Tradition. 
It was spoken on the house-tops when it should have 
been whispered in closets, and it expired in the effort. 
Yet it might have been allotted, let us never forget, 
a happier destiny. It might have smouldered and 
spread through a portion of our Birmingham popula- 
tion ; it might have rested obscurely on their memories, 
and now and then risen upon their tongues; there 
might have been flitting notions, misgivings, rumours, 
voices, that the horrors of the Inquisition were from 

the Protestant View. 125 

time to time renewed in om* subterranean chambers ; 
and fifty years hence, if some sudden frenzy of the 
hour roused the anti- Catholic jealousy still lingering in 
the town, a mob might have swarmed about our inno- 
cent dwelling, to rescue certain legs of mutton and 
pats of butter from imprisonment, and to hold an 
inquest over a dozen packing-cases, some old hampers, 
a knife-board, and a range of empty blacking bottles. 

Thus I close my third instance of the sort of evidence 
commonly adducible for the great Protestant Tradition; 
not the least significant circumstance about them all 
being this, that, though in the case of all three that 
evidence is utterly disproved, yet in not one of the 
three is the charge founded on it withdrawn. In spite 
of Dr Waddington, Dr Maitland, and Mr Rose, the 
editors of Mosheim still print and publish his slander 
on St Eligius ; in defiance of the Brussels protest, and 
the chair tarifi'of St Gudule, the Kent clergyman and the 
Times still bravely maintain om* traffic in sins ; in 
violence to the common sense of mankind, the rack and 
the pulley are still affirmed to be busy in the dungeons 
of Edgbaston ; — for Protestantism must be maintained 
as the Religion of Englishmen, and part and parcel of 
the Law of the land. 

And now, in conclusion, I will but state my convic- 
tion, which I am sure to have confirmed by every 
intelligent person who takes the trouble to examine 
the subject, that such slanders as I have instanced are 
the real foundation on which the anti- Catholic feelino- 
mainly rests in England, and without which it could 
not long be maintained. Doubtless there are arguments 

126 Fable the Basis of the P^'otestant View. 

of a different calibre, whatever their worth, which weigh 
against Catholics with half-a-dozen members of a 
University, with the speculative Church-restorer, with 
the dilettante divine, with the fastidious scholar, and 
with some others of a higher character of mind; whether 
St Justin Martyr said this or that ; whether images 
should be dressed in muslin, or hewn out of stone ; what 
is the result of criticism on passages in the Prophets ; — 
questions such as these, and others of a more serious 
cast, may be conclusive for or against the Church in the 
study or in the lecture-room, but they have no influence 
with the many. As to those charges which do weigh 
with the people at large, the more they can be examined, 
the more, I am convinced, will they be found to be 
untrue. It is by wholesale, retail, systematic, unscrupu- 
lous lying, for I can use no gentler term, that the 
many rivulets are made to flow for the feeding the 
great Protestant Tradition, — the Tradition of the Court, 
the Tradition of the Law, the Tradition of the Legisla 
ture, the Tradition of the Establishment, the Tradition 
of Literature, the Tradition of Domestic Circles, the 
Tradition of the Populace. 




T CAN fancy, my Brothers, that some of you may have 
been startled at a statement I made at the close of 
my Lecture of last week. I then said, that the more 
fully the imputations which were cast upon us were 
examined, the more unfounded they would turn out to 
be ; so that the great Tradition on which we are perse- 
cuted is little short of one vast pretence or fiction. On 
this you may be led to ask me whether I mean to deny 
all and everything which can be advanced to the 
disadvantage of the Catholic Church, and whether I 
recommend you to do the same ? but this was not my 
meaning. Some things which are charged against us 
are doubtless true, and we see no harm in them, though 
Protestants do ; other charges are true, yet, as we think, 
only go to form ingenious objections ; others again are 
true, and relate to what is really sinful and detestable, 
as we allow as fully as Protestants can urge : but all 
these real facts, whatever their worth, taken altogether, 
do not go any way towards proving true the Protestant 
Traditionary View of us ; they are vague and unsatis- 
factory, and, to apply a common phrase, they beat 

128 True Testimony insufficient 

about the bush. If you would have some direct down- 
right proof that Catholicism is what Protestants make 
it to be, something which will come up to the mark, 
you must lie ; else you will not get beyond feeble sus- 
picions, which may be right, but may be wrong. Hence 
Protestants are obliged to cut their ninth commandment 
out of their Decalogue. " Thou shalt not bear false 
witness against thy neighbour " must go, must dis- 
appear ; their position requires the sacrifice. The sub- 
stance, the force, the edge of their Tradition is slander. 
As soon as ever they disabuse their minds of what is 
false, and grasp only what is true, — I do not say they 
at once become Catholics ; I do not say they lose their 
dislike to our religion, or their misgivings about its 
working ; — but I say this, either they become tolerant 
towards us, and cease to hate us personally, — or, at 
least, supposing they cannot shake off old associations, 
and are prejudiced and hostile as before, still they find 
they have not the means of communicating their own 
feelings to others. To Protestantism False Witness is 
the principle of propagation. There are indeed able 
men who can make a striking case out of anything or 
nothing, as great painters give a meaning and a unity 
to the commonest bush, and pond, and paling, and 
stile : genius can do without facts as well as create 
them; but few possess the gift. Taking things as 
they are, and judging of them by the long run, one 
may securely say, that the anti-Catholic Tradition 
could not be kept alive, would die of exhaustion, with- 
out a continual supply of fable. 

I repeat, not everything which is said to our disad- 
vantage is without foundation in fact ; but it is not 

for the Protestant View. 129 

the true that tells against us in the controversj^, but 
the false. The Tradition requires bold painting ; its 
prominent outline, its glaring colouring, needs to be a 
falsehood. So was it at the time of the Reformation : 
the multitude would never have been converted by- 
exact reasoning and by facts which could be proved ; 
so its upholders were clever enough to call the Pope 
Antichrist, and they let the startling accusation sink 
into men's minds. Nothing else would have succeeded; 
and they pursue the same tactics now. No inferior 
charge, I say, would have gained for them the battle ; 
else, why should they have had recourse to it ? Few 
persons tell atrocious falsehoods for the sake of telling 
them. If truth had been sufficient to put down Catho- 
licism, the Reformers would not have had recourse to 
fiction. Errors indeed creep in by chance, whatever be 
the point of inquiry or dispute ; but I am not accusing 
Protestants merely of incidental or of attendant error, 
but I mean that falsehood is the very staple of the views 
which they have been taught to entertain of us. 

I allow there are true charges which can be brought 
against us ; certainly, not only do I not deny it, but I 
hardly could deny it without heresy. I say distinctly, 
did I take upon me to deny everything which could be. 
said against us, I should be proving too much, I should 
startle the Catholic theologian as well as Protestants ; 
for what would it be but implying that the Church 
contains none within her pale but the just and holy? 
This was the heresy of the Novatians and Donatists of 
old time ; it was the heresy of our Lollards, and others, 
such as Luther, who maintained that bad men are not 
members of the Church, that none but the predestinate 


1 30 True Testimony Ins2ifficie7tt 

are her members. But this no Catholic asserts, every 
Catholic denies. Every Catholic has ever denied it, 
hack to the very time of the Apostles and their Divine 
Master ; and He and they deny it. Christ denies it, 
St Paul denies it, the Catholic Church denies it. Our 
Lord expressly said that the Church was to be like a 
net, which gathered of every kind, not only of the good, 
but of the bad too. Such was His Church ; it does not 
prove then that we are not His Church, because we are 
like His Church ; rather, our being like the Primitive 
Christian body, is a reason for concluding that we are 
one with it. We cannot make His Church better than 
He made her ; we must be content with her as He 
made her, or not pretend to follow Him. He said, 
" Many are called, few are chosen ; " men come 
into the Church, and then they fall. They are not 
indeed sinning at the very time when they are brought 
into His family, at the time they are new born ; but, 
as children grow up, and converts live on, the time too 
frequently comes, when they fall under the power of 
one kind of temptation or other, and fall from grace, 
either for a while or for good. Thus, not indeed by 
the divine wish and intention, but by the divine permis- 
sion, and man's perverseness, there is a vast load of 
moral evil existing in the Church ; an enemy has sown 
weeds there, and those weeds remain among the wheat 
till the harvest. And this evil in the Church is not 
found only in the laity, but among the clergy too ; 
there have been bad priests, bad bishops, bad monks, 
bad nuns, and bad Popes. If this, then, is the charge 
made against us, that we do not all live up to our calling, 
but that there are Catholics, lay and clerical, who may be 

for the Protestant Vieiv. 1 3 1 

proved to be worldly, revengeful, licentious, slotliful, 
cruel, nay, may be unbelievers, we grant it at once. "We 
not only grant it, but we zealously maintain it. " In a 
great house," says St Paul, "there are not only vessels 
of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth ; and 
some indeed unto honour, but some unto dishonour." 
There are, alas, plenty of children of the Church, who 
by their bad lives insult and disgrace their Mother. 

The Church, it is true, has been promised many great 
things, but she has not been promised the souls of all 
her children. She is promised truth in religious teach- 
ing ; she is promised duration to the end of the world ; 
she is made the means of grace ; she is unchangeable 
in Creed and in constitution ; she will ever cover the 
earth ; — but her children are not infallible separately, 
any more than they are immortal ; not indefectible, 
any more than they are ubiquitous. Therefore, if Pro- 
testants wish to form arguments which really would 
tell against us, they must show, not that individuals 
are immoral or profane, but that the Church teaches, 
or enjoins, or recommends, what is immoral or profane ; 
rewards, encourages, or at least does not warn and 
discountenance, the sinner ; or promulgates rules, and 
enforces practices, which directly lead to sin ; — and this 
indeed they try to do, but they find the task not near 
so pleasant as the short and easy method of adopting 
strong, round, thorough-going statements, which are 
not true. 

We do not then feel as a difficulty, on the contrary 
we teach as a doctrine, that there are scandals in the 
Church. " It must needs be, that scandals come ; 
nevertheless, woe to that man by whom the scandal 

132 True Testimony hisuficient 

Cometh.'* There are, to all appearance, multitudes 
of Catholics who have passed out of the world unre- 
pentant, and are lost; there are multitudes living in 
sin, and out of grace ; priests may and do fall, in this 
or that country, at this or that time, though they are 
exceptions to the rule ; or there may be parties or knots 
of ecclesiastics, who take a low view of their duty, or 
adopt dangerous doctrines; or they may be covetous, or 
unfeeling, as other men, and use their power tyrannically, 
or for selfish, secular ends. There may be a declension 
and deterioration of the priesthood of a whole country. 
There may be secret unbelievers, both among clergy 
and laity; or individuals who are tending in their 
imaginations and their reasonings to grievous error or 
heresy. There may be great disorders in some particu- 
lar monastery or nunnery ; or a love of ease and slothful 
habits, and a mere formality in devotion, in particular 
orders of Eeligious, at particular seasons. There may 
be self-indulgence, pride, ambition, political profligacy 
in certain bishops in particular states of society, as 
for instance, when the Church has been long estab- 
lished and abounds in wealth. And there may have 
been Popes before now, who to the letter have fulfilled 
the awful description of the unfaithful servant and 
steward, who began to " strike the men servants and 
maid servants, and to eat and drink and be drunken." 
All this may be granted; but before the admission can 
avail as an argument against the Catholic Church, 
one thing has to be examined, whether on the whole 
her influence and her action is on the side of what is 
wrong, or rather (as is the case) simply powerful on 
the side of good ; one thing has to be proved, that the 


for the Protestant View. 133 

scandals within lier pale have been caused by her prin- 
ciples, her teaching, her injunctions, or, which pretty 
nearly comes to the same thing, that they do not also 
exist, and as grievously (Catholics would say, they 
exist far more grievously), external to her. 


Now here is the flaw in the argument. For instance, 
it is plausibly objected that disorders not only some- 
times do, but must occur, where priests are bound to 
celibacy. Even the candid Protestant will be apt to 
urge against us, " You must not argue from the case 
of the few, from persons of high principle and higb 
education ; but taking the run of men, you must allow 
that the vow will not be kept by numbers of those 
who have got themselves to take it." Now I will not 
reply, as I might well do, by pointing out the caution 
which the Church observes in the selection of her 
priests ; how it is her rule to train them carefully for 
many years beforehand with this one thought in view, 
that priests they are to be ; how slie tries them during 
their training; bow she takes one and rejects another, 
not with any reflection on those who are rejected, but 
simply because she finds they are not called to this 
particular state of life ; how, when she has selected a 
man, a bundred provisions and checks in detail are 
thrown around his person, whicli are to be bis safe- 
guard in his arduous calling ; lastly, how, when he is 
once called to his high ministry, he has, unless he be 
wonderfully wanting to himself, the power of divine 
grace abundantly poured upon him, without which all 
human means are useless, but which can do, and con- 

1 34 Trtie Testimony Insufficient 

stantly does, miracles, as the experience, not of priest 
merel)^, but of every one who has been converted from 
a life of sin, will abundantly testify; — I might enlarge 
on considerations such as these, but I put them aside, 
because I wish to address myself to the question of fact. 
When, then, we come to the matter of fact, whether 
celibacy has been and /s, in comparison of the marriage 
vow, so dangerous to a clerical body, I answer that I 
am very sceptical indeed that in matter of fact a married 
clergy is adorned, in any special and singular way, 
with the grace of purity ; and this is just the very 
thing which Protestants take for granted. What is the 
use of speaking against our discipline, till they have 
proved their own to be better ? Now I deny that they 
succeed with their rule of matrimony, better than we do 
with our rule of celibacy ; and I deny it on no private 
grounds, or secret means of information, or knowledge 
of past years. I have lived in one place all my days, and 
know very few married clergymen, and those of such 
excellence and consistency of life, that I should feel it 
to be as absurd to suspect them of any the slightest 
impropriety in their conduct, as to suspect the Catho- 
lic priests with whom I am well acquainted ; and this 
is saying a great deal. When I speak of a married 
ministry, I speak of it, not from any knowledge I 
possess more than another ; but I must avow that the 
public prints and the conversation of the world, by 
means of many shocking instances, which of course 
are only specimens of many others, heavier or lighter, 
which do not come before the world, bring home to me 
the fact, that a Protestant rector or a dissenting preacher 
is not necessarily kept from the sins I am speaking of, 

for the Protestant View. 135 

because lie happens to be married : and when he offends, 
whether in a grave way or less seriously, still in all 
cases he has by matrimony but exchanged a bad sin for 
a worse, and has become an adulterer instead of being 
a seducer. Matrimony only does this for him, that his 
purity is at once less protected and less suspected. I 
am very sceptical, then, of the universal correctness of 
Protestant ministers, whether in the Establishment or 
in Dissent. I repeat, I know perfectly well, that there 
are a great number of high-minded men among the 
married Anglican clergy who would as soon think of 
murder, as of trespassing by the faintest act of inde- 
corum upon the reverence which is due from them to 
others ; nor am I denying, what, though of course I 
cannot assert it on any knowledge of mine, yet I wish 
to assert with all my heart, that the majority of 
Wesleyan and dissenting ministers lead lives beyond 
all reproach ; but still, allowing all this, the terrible 
instances of human frailty, of which one reads and 
hears in the Protestant clergy, are quite enough to show 
that the married state is no sort of testimonial for moral 
correctness, no safeguard, whether against scandalous 
offences, or (much less) against minor forms of the same 
general sin. Purity is not a virtue which comes merely 
as a matter of course to the married any more than to 
the single, though of course there is a great difference 
between man and man ; and though it is impossible to 
bring the matter fairly to an issue, yet for that very 
reason I have as much right to my opinion as another 
to his, when I state my deliberate conviction that there 
are, to say the least, as many offences against the 
marriage vow among Protestant ministers, as there are 

136 True Testimony Instifficietit 

against the vow of celibacy among Catholic priests. I 
may go very much further than this in my own view of 
the matter, and think, as I do, that the priest's vow is 
generally the occasion of virtues which a married clergy 
does not contemplate even in idea ; but I am on the 
defensive, and only insist on so much as is necessary 
for my purpose. 

But if matrimony does not prevent cases of immor- 
ality among Protestant ministers, it is not celibacy 
which causes them among Catholic priests. It is not 
what the Catholic Church imposes, but what human 
nature prompts, which leads any portion of her ecclesi- 
astics into sin. Human nature will break out, like 
some wild and raging element, under any system ; it 
bursts out under the Protestant system ; it bursts out 
under the Catholic ; passion will carry away the married 
clergyman as well as the unmarried priest. On the 
other hand, there are numbers to whom there would be, 
not greater, but less, trial in the vow of celibacy than 
in the vow of marriage, as so many persons prefer 
Teetotalism to the engagement to observe Temperance. 
Till, then, you can prove that celibacy causes what 
matrimony certainly does not prevent, you do nothing 
at all. This is the language of common sense. It is 
the world, the flesh, and the devil, not celibacy, which 
is the ruin of those who fall. Slothful priests ! why, 
where was there any religion whatever, established and 
endowed, in which bishops, canons, and wealthy rectors 
were not exposed to the temptation of pride and sen- 
suality ? The wealth is in fault, not the rules of the 
Church. Preachers have denounced the evil, and eccle- 
siastical authorities have repressed it, far more vigorously 

for the Protestant View. 137 

within the Catliolic pale, than in the English Estah- 
lishment, or the Wesleyan Connection. Covetous 
priests! shame on them! but has covetousness been 
more rife in cardinals or abbots, than in the Protestant 
Bench, English or Irish ? Party spirit, and political 
faction ! has not party, religious and political, burnt as 
fiercely in high-church rectors and radical preachers, as 
in Catholic ecclesiastics? And so again, to take an 
extreme case, — be there a few infidels among the 
multitudes of the Catholic clergy: yet among the 
Anglican are there really none, are there few, who 
disbelieve their own Baptismal Service, repudiate their 
own Absolution of the Sick, and condemn the very 
form of words under which they themselves were or- 
dained? Asrain, are there not numbers who doubt 
about every part of their system, about their Church, 
its authority, its truth, its articles, its creeds ; deny 
its Protestantism, yet without being sure of its Catho- 
licity, and therefore never dare commit themselves to 
a plain assertion, as not knowing whither it will carry 
them ? Once more, are there not in the Establishment 
those who hold that all systems of doctrine whatever 
are founded in a mistake, and who deny, or are fast 
denying, that there is any revealed truth in the world 
at all ? Yet none of these parties, whatever they doubt, 
or deny, or disbelieve, see their way to leave the posi- 
tion in which they find themselves at present, or to 
sacrifice their wealth or credit to their opinions. Why, 
then, do you throw in my teeth that Wolsey was proud, 
or Torquemada cruel, or Bonner trimming, or this abbot 
sensual, or that convent in disorder; that this priest 
ought never to have been a priest, and that nun was 

138 Trtie Testimo7iy Insufficient 

forced into religion by her father ; as if there were none 
of these evils in Protestant England, as if there were 
no pride in the House of Lords now, no time-serving 
in the House of Commons, no servility in fashionable 
preachers, no selfishness in the old, no profligacy in 
the young, no tyranny or cajolery in matchmaking, 
no cruelty in Union workhouses, no immorality in fac- 
tories ? If grievous sin is found in holy places, the 
Church cannot hinder it, while man is man : prove that 
she encourages it, prove that she does not repress it, 
prove that her action, be it greater or less, is not, as far 
as it goes, beneficial; — then, and not till then, will 
you have established a point against her. 

For myself, my Brothers of the Oratory, I never 
should have been surprised, if, in the course of the last 
nine months of persecution, some scandal in this or 
that part of our English Church had been brought to 
light and circulated through the country, to our great 
prejudice. Not that I speak from any knowledge or 
suspicion of my own, but merely judging antecedently 
and on the chance of things. And, had such a case 
in fact been producible, it would, in the judgment of 
dispassionate minds, have gone for nothing at all, unless 
there is to be no covetous Judas, no heretical Nicolas, 
no ambitious Diotrephes, no world-loving Demas, in 
the Church of these latter days. Fraud in a priest, 
disorder in a convent, would have proved, not more, 
perhaps less, against Catholicism, than corruption in 
Parliament, peculation in the public offices, or bribery 
at elections tells against the British Constitution. 
Providentially no such calamity has occurred ; but oh, 
what would not om- enemies have paid for only one real 

for the Protestant View. 139 

and live sin in holy places to mock us witlial ! light 
to the eyes, and joy to the heart, and music to the ear ! 
sweet tidings to writers of pamphlets, newspapers, 
and magazines ; to preachers and declaimers, who have 
now a weary while been longing, and panting, and 
praying for some good fat scandal, one, only just one, 
well-supported instance of tyranny, or barbarity, or 
fraud, or immorality, to batten upon and revel in ! 
What price would they have thought too great for so 
dear a fact, as that one of our bishops or one of our reli- 
gious houses had been guilty of some covetous aim, or 
some unworthy manoeuvre ! Their fierce and unblush- 
ing effort to fix such charges where they were impos- 
sible, shows how many eyes were fastened on us all over 
the country, and how deep and fervent was the aspira- 
tion that at least some among us might turn out to be 
a brute or a villain. To and fro the Spirit of false 
witness sped. She dropped upon the floor of the Par- 
liament House in the form of a gentleman of War- 
wickshire, and told how a nun had escaped thereabouts 
from a convent window, which in consequence had ever 
since been crossed with iron bars : but it turned out 
that the window had been attempted by thieves, and 
the bars had been put up to protect the Blessed Sacra- 
ment from them. Then she flitted to Nottingham, 
and, in the guise of a town newspaper's correspondent, 
repeated the tale, with the concordant witness, as she 
gave out, of a whole neighbourhood, who had seen the 
poor captive atop of the wall, and then wandering about 
the fields like a mad thing : but the Editor in London 
discovered the untruth, and unsaid in his own paper 
the slander he had incautiously admitted. Next sh^ 

140 Trtie Testimony Insufficient 

forced her way into a nunnery near London, and ste 
assured the Protestant world that then and there an 
infant had suddenly appeared among the sisterhood; but 
the two newspapers who were the organs of her malice 
had to retract the calumny in open court, and to ask 
pardon to escape a prosecution. 

Tales, I say, such as these showed the animus of the 
fabricators : but what, after all, would they have really 
gained had their imputations been ever so true ? 
Though one bad priest be found here or there, or one 
convent be in disorder, or there be this or that abuse 
of spiritual power, or a school of ecclesiastics give birth 
to a heresy, or a diocese be neglected, nay, though a 
whole hierarchy be in declension or decay, this would 
not suffice for the argument of Protestantism. And 
Protestantism itself plainly confesses it. Yes, the 
Protestant Tradition must be fed with facts more 
wholesale, more stimulating, than any I have enumer- 
ated, if it is to keep its hold on the multitude. Iso- 
lated instances of crime, or widespread tepidity, or 
imperfections in administration, or antiquated legis- 
lation, such imputations are but milk-and-water ingre- 
dients in a theme so thrilling as that of Holy Church 
being a sorceress and the child of perdition. Facts that 
are only possible, and that only sometimes occur, do 
but irritate, by suggesting suspicions which they are 
not sufficient to substantiate. Even falsehood, that is 
decent and respectable, is unequal to the occasion. 
Mosheim and Robertson, Jortin and White, raise hopes 
to disappoint them. The popular demand is for the 
prodigious, the enormous, the abominable, the diabol- 
ical, the impossible. It must be shown that all priests 

for the Protestant View. 141 

are monsters of hypocrisy, that all nunneries are dens of 
infamy, that all bishops are the embodied plenitude 
of savageness and perJSdy. Or at least we must have 
a cornucopia of mummery, blasphemy, and licentious- 
ness, — of knives, and ropes, and faggots, and fetters, 
and pulleys, and racks, — if the great Protestant Tradi- 
tion is to be kept alive in the hearts of the population. 
The great point in view is to burn into their imagina- , 
tion, by a keen and peremptory process, a sentiment 
of undying hostility to Catholicism ; and nothing will 
suffice for this enterprise but imposture, in its purest 
derivation, from him whom Scripture emphatically calls 
the father of lies, and whose ordinary names, when 
translated, are, the accuser and the slanderer. 

This I shall prove as well as assert ; and I shall do 
so in the following way. You know, my Brothers of 
the Oratory, that from time to time persons come 
before the Protestant public, with pretensions of all 
others the most favourable for proving its charges 
against us, as having once belonged to our Communion, 
and having left it from conviction. If, then, Protest- 
ants would know what sort of men we really are whom 
they are reprobating, if they wish to determine our 
internal state, and build their argument on a true foun- 
dation, and accommodate their judgment of us to facts, 
here is the best of opportunities for their purpose. The 
single point to ascertain is, the trustworthiness of the 
informants ; that being proved, the testimony they 
give is definite; but if it is disproved, the evidence 
is worthless. 

Now I am going to mention to you the names of two 
persons, utterly unlike each other in all things except 

142 True Testimony Insufficient 

in their botli coming forward as converts from Catho- 
licism ; both putting on paper their personal experience 
of the religion they had left ; both addressing them- 
selves especially to the exposure of the rule of celibacy, 
whether in the priesthood or in convents ; and, 
moreover, both on their first appearance meeting with 
great encouragement from Protestants, and obtaining 
an extensive patronage for the statements they respec- 
tively put forward. One was a man, the other a woman ; 
the one a gentleman, a person of very superior educa- 
tion and great abilities, who lived among us, and might 
be interrogated and cross-examined at any time : the 
woman, on the other hand, had no education, no char- 
acter, no principle, and, as the event made manifest, 
deserved no credit whatever. Whatever the one said 
was true, as often as he spoke to facts he had witnessed, 
and was not putting out opinions or generalising on 
evidence ; whatever the other said was, or was likely 
to be, false. Thus the two were contrasted : yet the 
truth spoken against us by the man of character is 
forgotten, and the falsehood spoken against us by the 
unworthy woman lives. If this can be shown, do you 
need a clearer proof that falsehood, not truth, is the 
essence of the Protestant Tradition ? 

The Rev. Joseph Blanco White, who is one of the 
two persons I speak of, was a man of great talent, 
various erudition, and many most attractive points of 
character. Twenty-five years ago, when he was about 
my present age, I became acquainted with him at 
Oxford, and I lived for some years on terms of famili- 

for the Protestant View. 143 

arity with liim. I admired him for the simplicity and 
openness of his character, the warmth of his affections, 
the range of his information, his power of conversation, 
and an intellect refined, elegant, and accomplished. I 
loved him from witnessing the constant sufferings, 
bodily and mental, of which he was the prey, and for 
his expatriation on account of his religion. At that 
time, not having the slightest doubt that Catholicism was 
an error, I found in his relinquishment of great eccle- 
siastical preferment in his native country for the sake of 
principle, simply a claim on my admiration and sympathy. 
He was certainly most bitter- minded and prejudiced 
against everything in and connected with the Catholic 
Church ; it was nearly the only subject on which he 
could not brook opposition : but this did not interfere 
with the confidence I placed in his honour and truth ; 
for, though he might give expression to a host of opin- 
ions in which it was impossible to acquiesce, and was 
most precipitate and unfair in his inferences and induc- 
tions, and might be credulous in the case of alleged 
facts for which others were the authority, yet, as to his 
personal testimony, viewed as distinct from his judg- 
ments and suspicions, it never for an instant came into 
my mind to doubt it. He had become an infidel before 
he left Spain. While at Oxford he was a believer in 
Christianity : after leaving it he fell into infidelity 
again ; and he died, I may say, without any fixed belief 
at all, either in a God or in the soul's immortality. 

About the period of my acquaintance with him, he 
wrote various works against the Catholic Church, which 
in a great measure are repetitions of each other, throw- 
ing the same mass of testimonies, such as they are, into 

144 True Testimony Insufficient 

diiSerent shapes, according to tlie occasion. And since 
liis death, many years after the time I speak of, his Life 
has been published, repeating what is substantially the 
same evidence. Among these publications one was 
written for the lower classes; it was entitled, "The 
Poor Man's Preservative against Popery ; " and, if I 
mistake not, was put upon the catalogue of Books and 
Tracts of the great Church of England Society, the 
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. No work 
could be sent into the world with greater advantages ; 
published under the patronage of all the dignitaries of 
the Establishment, put into the hands of the whole 
body of the clergy for distribution, at a low price, 
written in an animated style, addressed to the tradition- 
ary hatred of the Catholic Church existing among us, 
which is an introduction to any book, whatever its 
intrinsic value ; and laden with a freight of accusation 
against her, which, as far as their matter was concerned, 
and the writer's testimony extended, were true as well 
as grave. 

When I began collecting materials for this Lecture, 
not being able to lay my hand upon the publication at 
home, I sent for a copy to the Christian Knowledge 
depot in this town, and, to my surprise, I was told it 
was no longer in print. I repeated the application 
at the Society's office in London, and received the 
same reply. Now certainly there are reasons why a 
Society connected with the National Church should 
wish to withdraw the work of a writer, who ended, not 
only with hating the Papacy, but with despising the 
Establishment ; yet, considering its facts were so trust- 
worthy, and its evidence so important, the Society 


for the Protestant View. 145 

hardly would have withdrawn it, if there had been any 
good reason for continuing it in print. Such a reason 
certainly would have been its popularity ; I cannot con- 
ceive how persons, with the strong feelings against the 
Catholic religion entertained by the members of that 
Society, having given their solemn approbation, not 
only to the principle of a certain attack upon it, but 
to the attack itself, and being confident that the facts 
related were true, could allow themselves in conscience 
to withdraw it, on accounjb of subsequent religious 
changes in the writer, supposing it actually to enjoy 
a sufficient popularity, and to be doing good service 
against Catholicism; and therefore I conclude, since 
it was withdrawn, that, in spite of the forced circulation 
which the Society gave it, it had not made any great 
impression on the mass of men, or even interested the 
Established clergy in its favour. But anyhow, it 
never at any time was known, in matter of fact, as far 
as I can make out, to the population at large, — for 
instance, to the masses of a town such as this, — what- 
ever consideration it may have enjoyed in the circles of 
the Establishment. Here, then, is a solemn testimony 
delivered against Catholics, of which the basis of facts 
is true, which nevertheless has no popularity to show, 
is sustained at first by a forced sale, and then is 
abandoned by its very patrons : and now let us con- 
sider the character of the facts of which it consists. 

They are such as the writer himself was very far from 
thinking a light imputation on the Church he had 
abandoned. He considered he had inflicted on Catho- 
licism a most formidable blow, in giving his simple 
evidence against it ; and it must be allowed that some 


146 TriLe Testimony Insufficient 

of his facts are of a very; grave nature. He was the 
partner and the witness of a most melancholy pheno- 
menon. About a hundred and fifty years ago a school of 
infidelity arose in Protestant England ; the notorious 
Voltaire came over here from France, and on his return 
took back with him its arguments, and propagated them 
among his own countrymen. Tlie evil spread; at 
length it attacked the French Catholic clergy, and 
during the last century there was a portion of them, I 
do not say a large portion, but an influential, who 
fraternised with the infidel, still holding their places 
and preferments in the Church. At the end of the 
century, about the time of the first sanguinary French 
Revolution, the pestilence spread into Spain ; a knot 
of the Spanish clergy became infidels, and, as a con- 
sequence, abandoned themselves to a licentious life. 
Blanco White was one of these, and, amid the political 
troubles in his country during the first years of this 
century, he managed to escape to England, where he 
died in the year 1841. 

Now there was one circumstance which gave a par- 
ticularly shocking character to the infidelity of these 
Spanish ecclesiastics, while it made it more intense. 
In France the infidel party was not afraid to profess 
itself infidel ; and such members of the clerical body 
as were abandoned enough to join it, did so openly; 
frequented its brilliant meetings, and lived shamelessly, 
like men of fashion and votaries of sin. It was other- 
wise in Spain ; the people would not have borne this ; 
public opinion was all on the side of the Catholic reli- 
gion ; such as doubted or disbelieved were obliged to 
keep it to themselves, and thus, if they were ecclesias- 

for the Protestant View. 147 

tics, to "become the most awful of hypocrites. There 
can be hypocrites in the Church, as there may be 
hypocrites in any religion; but here you see what a 
hypocrite is in the Catholic Church, as seen in fact; 
not a person who takes up a religious profession in 
order to gratify some bad end, but, for the most part, 
one who has learned to disbelieve what he professes, 
after he has begun to profess it.* However, such a 
person is, on any explanation, an object of horror ; and 
in Spain it was increased by the impatience, irritation, 
and fever of mind, which the constraint they lay under 
occasioned to these unhappy men. Their feelings, 
shut up within their breasts, became fierce and sullen ; 
oppressed by the weight of the popular sentiment, they 
turned round in revenge upon its object, and they 
hated Catholicism the more, because their countrymen 
were Catholics, f They became a sort of secret society, 
spoke to each other only in private, held intercourse 
by signs, and plunged into licentiousness, even as 
a relief to the miserable conflicts which raged within 

Earth could not show, imagination could not picture, 
Satan could not create, a more horrible spectacle. 
You will say, how was it possible? how could men 
who had, I will not merely say given themselves to 

* E.rj., Mr Blanco White saya of one of the Spanish ecclesiastics 
whom he introduces, " He was . . . one of those, who, having origin- 
ally taken their posts in the foremost ranks of asceticism, with the 
most sincere- desire of improvement for himself and others, are afterwards 
involved in guilt by strong temptation, and reduced to secret moral 
degradation, by want of courage to throw off the mask of sanctity." Life, 
vol. i. p. 121. 

+ I think I have heard him say that he had lost his knowledge of the 
Spanish tongue, not having the heart to keep it up. 

148 Trice Testimony Insufficient 

God, but wlio had tasted the joy and the reward of 
such devotion, how could they have the heart thus to 
change ? Why, the perpetrators of the most heinous 
crimes, men who have sold themselves to the world, 
and have gained their full price from it, even they 
look back with tears to those days of innocence and 
peace which once were theirs, and which are irrecover- 
ably gone. Napoleon said that the day of his first 
communion was the happiest day of his life. Such 
men, too, actually part company with the presence of 
religion ; they go forward on their own course, and leave 
it behind them in the distance. Their regret is directed 
to what not merely is past, but is away. But these 
priests were in the very bosom of the Church ; they 
served her altars, they were in the centre of her bless- 
ings ; how could they forget Jerusalem who dwelt within 
her ? how could they be so thankless towards her sweet- 
ness and her brightness, and so cruel towards themselves ? 
how could one who had realised that the Strong and 
Mighty, that the Gracious, was present on the Altar, who 
had worshipped there that Saviour's tender Heart, and 
rejoiced in the assurance of His love, how could he go 
on year after year (horrible !) performing the same rites, 
holding his Lord in his hands, dispensing Him to His 
people, yet thinking it all an idle empty show, a vain 
superstition, a detestable idolatry, a blasphemous fraud, 
and cursing the while the necessity which compelled his 
taking part in it ? "Why, in the case of one who ever 
had known the power of religion, it is incomprehen- 
sible ; but, as regards the melancholy instance we are 
contemplating, it would really seem, if you may take 
his own recollection of his early self in evidence of the 

for the Protestant View. 149 

fact, that he never had discovered what religion was. 

Most children are open to religious feelings, Catholic 

children of course more than others; some, indeed, 

might complain that, as they advance to boyhood, 

religion becomes irksome and wearisome to them, but 

I doubt whether this is true of Catholic youth, till 

they begin to sin. True, alas, it is, that the nearer 

and more urgent excitement of guilty thoughts does 

render the satisfactions and consolations of Paradise 

insipid and uninviting; but even then their reason 

tells them that the fault is with themselves, not with 

religion ; and that after all heaven is not only better, 

but pleasanter, sweeter, more glorious, more satisfying 

than anything on earth. Yet, from some strange, 

mysterious cause, this common law was not fulfilled 

in this hapless Spanish boy ; he never found comfort 

in religion, not in childhood more than in manhood, 

or in old age. In his very first years, as in his last, it was 

a yoke and nothing more ; a task without a recompense. 

Thus he tells us, he " entertains a most painful 

recollection" of the "perpetual round of devotional 

practices " in which he was compelled to live. He 

"•absolutely dreaded the approach of Sunday. Early 

on the morning of that formidable day, when he was 

only eight years old, he was made to go with his father 

to the Dominican convent," * always for Mass, and 

every other week for confession. He did not get his 

breakfast for two hours, then he had to stand or kneel 

in the Cathedral, I suppose at High Mass, for two 

hours longer. Well, the second two hours probably 

was, as he says, a considerable trial for him. Again, 

* P. 11. 

150 True Testimony Insufficient 

from three to five lie was in another church, I suppose 
for Vespers and Benediction. Then his father and he 
took a walk, and in the evening his father visited the 
sick in an hospital, and took his son with him. Per- 
haps his father's treatment of him, if we are to trust 
his recollection and impression of it, might be injudi- 
cious ; he was lively, curious, and clever, and his father, 
who was a truly good, pious man, it may be, did not 
recollect that the habits of the old are not suitable in 
all respects to children. Mr Blanco White complains, 
moreover, that he had no companions to play with, 
and no books to read ; still, it is very strange indeed, 
that he never took pleasure in Mass and Benediction ; 
he calls his Sunday employments a '"cruel discipline; " * 
he describes his hearing Mass as " looking on while 
the priest went through it; " f speaking of a season of 
recreation granted to him, he mentions his religious 
duties as the drawbacks " on the accession of daily 
pleasures " he had obtained. However, " Mass, though 
a nuisance, was over in half an hour ; confession, a 
more serious annoyance, was only a weekly task ; " | 
and, as if to prove what I alluded to above, that no 
fascination of sin had at this time thrown religion into 
the shade, he adds, "My life was too happy in innocent 
amusement to be exposed to anything that might be 
the subject of painful accusation." No : it was some 
radical defect of mind. In like manner, saying office 
was to him never anything else than a " most burden- 
some practice." § " Another devotional task, scarcely 
less burdensome," was— what, my Brothers, do- you 
think? "Mental Prayer," or "Meditation;" of 

* p. 12. t P. 26. " i P. 32. § p. 27. 

for the Protestant View. 1 5 1 

which he gives a detailed and true description. He 
adds, " Soon after I was ordained a priest ... I my- 
self was several times the leader of this mystical farce. " * 
In his boyhood and youth he had to read half an hour, 
and to meditate on his knees another half. This, for 
such a hoy, might be excessive ; but hear how he 
comments upon it : "To feel indignant, at this dis- 
tance of time, may be absurd ; but it is with difficulty 
that I can check myself when I remember what I 
have suffered in the cause of religion. Alas ! my suf- 
ferings from that source are still more bitter in my 
old age." t 

That a person, then, who never knew what Catholi- 
cism had to give, should abandon it, does not seem very 
surprising ; the only wonder is how he ever came to be 
a priest. If we take his own account of himself, it is 
evident he had no vocation at all ; he explains the 
matter, however, very simply, as far as his own share 
in it is concerned, by telling us that he chose the 
ecclesiastical state in order to avoid what he felt to be 
more irksome, a counting-house. " I had proposed to 
be sent to the navy, because at that time the Spanish 
midshipman received a scientific education. I could 
not indeed endure the idea of being doomed to a life of 
ignorance. This was easily perceived, and (probably 
with the approbation of the divines consulted on this 
subject) no alternative was left me. I was told I must 
return to the odious counting-house, from which I had 
taken refuge in the Church. I yielded, and in yielding, 

* P. 29. 

t P. 29. He goes on to say that he prefers to the vague word "reli- 
gion " the use of " true Christianity," but this he gave up at last. 

152 Ti'iie Testimony InsuffLcient 

mistook the happiness of drying up my mother's tears 
for a reviving taste for the clerical profession. "* 

No wonder, under such circumstances, that Mr Blanco 
White became an unbeliever ; no wonder that his 
friends and associates became unbelievers too, if their 
history resembled his. It was the case of active, in- 
quisitive minds, unfurnished with that clear view of 
divine things which divine grace imparts and prayer 
obtains. The only question which concerns us here is. 
Were there many such ecclesiastics in the Spanish 
Church ? If so, it certainly would be a very grave fact ; 
if not so, it is most melancholy certainly, but not an 
argument, as I can see, against Catholicism, for there 
are bad men in every place and every system. Now 
it is just here that his testimony fails ; there is 
nothing that I can find in his works to prove that the 
dreadful disease which he describes had spread even 
so widely as in France. In the first place, he only 
witnesses to a small part of Spain. He seems to 
have only been in three Spanish cities in his life : 
Seville, Madrid, and Cadiz ; f and of these, while 
Seville is the only one of which he had a right to 
speak, the metropolis and a seaport are just two of 
the places, where, if there was laxity, you would expect 
it to be found. Again, Spain is not, like England, the 
seat of one people, an open country, with easy com- 
munication from sea to sea. On the contrary, you 
have populations so different, that you may call them 

* P. 52. 

+ On one occasion he ran down to Salamanca from Madrid, apparently 
for a day or two. 

for the Protestant View. 153 

foreign to eacli other ; separated, moreover, not only 
morally, but by the mountain barriers which intersect 
the country in every direction : one part does not know 
another, one part is not like another, and therefore Mr 
Blanco White's evidence is only good as far as it 
extends. You cannot infer the state of the northern 
dioceses from a southern; of Valentia, by what you 
are told of Seville. Inspect then his narrative itself, 
and see what it results in. It amounts to this — that 
in the first years of this century there were a few priests 
at Seville who had studied Jansenistic theology, and 
largely imported French philosophy, and that they 
ended in becoming infidels, and some of them unblush- 
ing hypocrites. I cannot find mention of any except 
at Seville ; and how many there ? You may count them. 
First, " I became acquainted with a member of the 
upper clergy, a man of great reading, and secretly a 
most decided disbeliever in all religion." Secondly, 
" Through him I was introduced to another dignitary, 
a man much older than either of us, who had for many 
years held an office of great influence in the diocese, 
but who now lived in a very retired way. He was also 
a violent anti-Christian, as I subsequently found." * 
Thirdly, an intimate friend of his own, who was pro- 
moted from Seville to a canonry of Cordova, and who 
had been chaplain to the Archbishop of Seville, f 
Fourthly, himself. I am not able to number more, as 
given on his own personal knowledge,} though he 

* P. 114. 

+ P. 17. I consider this to be the person mentioned in the 
"Evidences," p. 132, whom accordingly I have not set down as a 
separate instance. 

X On his visit to Salamanca, he saw Melendez, a Deist (p. 128), who 

154 True Testimony Insufficient 

certainly thought many others existed ; * but this is 
ever the case with men who do wrong ; they quiet the 
voice within them by the imagination that all others 
are pretty much what they are themselves. I do not 
then trust his inferences. 

And so again, as he fell into immoral practices 
himself, so did he impute the same to the mass of the 
Spanish clergy, whom he considered as " falling and 
rising, struggling and falling again," f in a continual 

had been one of the judges of the Supreme Court at Madrid ; a poet, 
too ; whether an ecclesiastic does not appear. 

* Life, p. 117. '■'Many other members of the clergy." If he had a 
definite knowledge of others, or more than suspicion, I cannot understand 
his not giving us the number, or the rank, or the dioceses, in short, 
something categorical, instead of an indirect allusion. The question, 
then, simply is, what his suspicions are worth. "Among my numerous 
acquaintance in the Spanish clergy, I have never met with any one, 
possessed of hold talents, who has not, sooner or later, changed from the 
most sincere piety to a state of unbelief." (Doblado's Letters, v.) I 
observe — 1. He had experience only of one diocese. 2. He evidently, 
by the very form of his words, does not speak of what he Jcnew, when he 
says, " who has not sooner or later.^' 3. Observe, " possessed of bold 
talents." In like manner, he would, I think, have said, that when he 
was at Oxford, every one, "of bold talents," agreed with Archbishop 
Whately, then resident in the University (and my friend as well as his) ; 
but every one knows how small Dr Whately's party was. I do not 
notice a passage in the " Poor Man's Preservative " (Dial. i. pp. 32, 33), 
for he is speaking of laity, and what he says of the clergy is very vague. 
After all, though I have a right to ask for proof, it is not necessary for 
my argument to deny, that the infidel party might have been as large in 
Spain even as in France ; though in fact it seems to have been no larger 
than the small band of Apostates, boasted of by the " Priests' Protection 
Society " in Dublin. 

t Evid. p. 132. Again, he says, " hundreds might be found" who 
live "a life of systematic vice" (p. 135). How very vague is "hun- 
dreds!" and "hundreds" out of 60,000 seculars, and 125,000 ecclesi- 
astics in all, as I shall mention presently in the text. (Ibid. p. 133.) 
He speaks vaguely of the "crowd " of priests ; and he says the best of 
them, and he knew the best from confession, "mingled vice and 
superstition, grossness of feeling, and pride of office, in their character." 
I suspect that coarseness with him was one great evidence of vice ; he 
despised uneducated persons. " I am surprised," he says of Tavora, 

for the Protestant View. 155 

course ; but here too, from the nature of the case, he 
could not speak of many on his personal knowledge, 
^or was it to be supposed that a priest, who was 
both disbelieving what he professed, and was breaking 
what he had vowed, should possess friends very diffe- 
rent from himself. He formed the eighth of a group 
of ecclesiastics whom he much admired. One of these, 
as we have seen, was an infidel, but apparently only 
one ; none of them, however, were blameless in their 
moral conduct. Besides these friends of his, he men- 
tions a priest of a religious congregation, who had 
been his own confessor, in which capacity '' he had no 
fault to find with him, nor could he discover the least 
indication of his not acting up to the principles he 
professed,"* who, however (as he was told by a young 

Bishop of the Canary Islands (p. 129), "that a man of his taslt and 
information accepted the Bishopric of a semi-barbarous portion of the 
Spanish dominions : " and this, though he attributes it "' to his desire of 
improving the moral and intellectual state of those islands." 

* This conscientiousness in his duty is remarkable in this priest, even 
if his account of him ought to be believed (for it stands oh different 
grounds from those cases which he knew). Of himself, too, he says, 
his resolution was to do his duty to his charge though an unbeliever. 
"I will not put myself forward in the Church. I will not affect zeal : 
whatever trust is put in me, as a confessor, I will conscientiously prove 
myself worthy of. I will m-ge people to observe every moral duty. I 
will give them the best advice in their difficulties, and comfort them in 
their distress. Such were the resolutions 1 made, and which, indeed, I 
always (sic) kept, in regard to the confidence reposed in my priestly 
office. In that respect I may positively and confidently assert, that I 
never availed myself of the privileges of my priesthood for anything 
immoral" (Life, vol. i. p. 112). This being the case, his intention 
in consecrating and administering the sacraments was valid, even 
though he was an unbeliever. I think my memory cannot play me 
false in saying, that in answer to a question once put to him, he declared 
emphatically that the bad priests never made use of the confessional for 
immoral purposes : he said, " They daren't. It would raise the people." 
Moreover, as time went on, he himself withdrew alioyelher from clerical 
duty. He speaks of another of the party, who having "for many 

156 True Testimony Insufficient 

atheist mercliant who knew the priest's " secret courses" 
well, and, "as he had afterwards sufficient ground to 
be convinced," if such a vague statement is a sufficient 
testimony to the fact), " sinned and did penance by 
rotation."* Another, too, is mentioned laden with 
similar guilt, with whom he had been intimate, but 
whom he describes as deficient in mere natural principle ; 
this man got involved in money matters, and died of 
vexation, t 

Ten, or, if it were, twenty bad ecclesiastics form a 
most melancholy catalogue certainly, but are not more, 
after all, than Protestants have scraped together and 
made apostates of, out of the zealous Catholic clergy 
of Ireland ; and, as no one dreams of taking such 
melancholy cases as specimens of the Irish Church, 
neither are Mr Blanco White's friends specimens of the 
Spanish. He says, indeed, " hundreds might be found," 
still not on his personal knowledge ; and I for one 
cannot receive his second-hand information. However, 
in any -case you must recollect first, that it was a time 
apparently of great religious declension, when Spain 
had imitated France, and a judgment was on the point 
of coming down upon the country. The Jesuits, the 
flower of the priesthood, whom, as he says himself, 

years held an office of great influence in the diocese, now lived in a very 
retired way " (p. 114). I say all this in order to show what little bearing 
the unbelief of this small knot of priests had upon the Catholic popula- 
tion among whom they lived. 

* Life, p. 121. 

•\ Life, p. 104. He speaks (Evidences, p. 135) of two priests who died 
of Ime. " Love, long resisted, seized them, at length, like madness. 
Two I knew who died insane." Even gi-anting it, I suppose it was love 
of particular objects. May not Protestants fall in love with persons who 
will not have them, or who are married ? Dying for love is certainly 
an idea quite known in England, still more so, perhaps, in the South. 

for the Protestant View. 1 5 7 

" their bitterest enemies have never ventured to charge 
with moral irregularities," had been barbarously 
expelled by the government. The Congregation of St 
Philip Neri took their place, but though they did a 
great deal, they had not strength, single-handed, to 
stem the flood of corruption. Moreover, you must 
consider the full number of clergy in a given place or 
neighbourhood, before you form a judgment upon their 
state as a whole. The whole number of clergy of Spain 
at this time amounted to 125,000 persons ; of these the 
seculars were as many as 60,000. In the Cathedral 
of Seville alone 500 Masses were said daily ; and the 
city was divided into twenty-six parishes, and contained 
besides between forty and fifty ecclesiastical establish- 
ments in addition to the monasteries.* The real ques- 
tion before us simply is, whether the proportion of bad 
priests at that time in the city and diocese of Seville 
was greater than the proportion of bad married clergy 
in England in the reign, we will say, of George the 
Second. It is to be remembered, too, that Catholic 
priests know each other far more intimately than is 
possible in the case of a married clergyman ; in a large 
city bad priests herd together : married clergymen, in 
respectable station, would sin each by himself, and no 
one of them can turn king's evidence against the rest. 
This being the extent of Mr Blanco White's evidence 
about the secular priests, about monks and friars he 
frankly tells us he knows next to nothing, though he 
thinks them " gross and vulgar." But here, as in the 
case of the secular clergy, he suspects and believes much 
evil which he does not know, and which those only 

* Laborde, vol. ii. 

158 True Testimony Insufficient 

•will receive who have implicit reliance on his judgment. 
As to nuns, he speaks of those of them whom he knew, 
as being for the most part ladies of high character and 
unimpeachable purity ;* though some were otherwise, 
at least to some extent. He seems to allow that reluc- 
tant nuns were comparatively few ; though he says that 
many were tormented by scruples, and all would have 

* He has a most intense notion that they are " prisoners ; " but that 
does not hinder his admitting that they are willing prisoners. He thinks 
the majority live in " a dull monotony " (Life, p. 67). It is not wonder- 
ful that he should take the formal Parliamentary view of nuns, consider- 
ing that from his youth, as I have said, he, though a Catholic, had 
apparently as little sense of the Real Presence (the true and sufficient 
Paraclete of a Nunnery) as the House of Commons has. The following 
expressions sketch his idea of a nunnery ; let it be observed, vice (except 
as an accident) is absent : — " The minute and anxious narrative of a 
nervous recluse^' (p. 66). " A sensible w^omaji confined for life" (Ibid.) 
"A soul troubled with all the fears of a morbid conscience " (p. 67). " The 
word Nunnery is a byword for loeahness of intellect, fretfulness, childish- 
ness. In short, nxm is the superlative of old woman" {^. 69). "Some 
of them were women of superior good sense, and models of that fortitude 
which," &c. (Ibid.) "Oxxeoi those excellent persons" (Ibid.) "Ihegreater 
part of the nuns whom I have known, were beings of a much higher 
description, females whose purity owed nothing to the strong gates and high 
walls of the cloister " (Evid. p. 135). " Some there are, I confess, among 
the nuns, who 7iever seem to long for freedom ; but the happiness boasted 
of in convents is generally the effect of an honourable pride of purpose, 
supported by a sense of utter hopelessness " (Ibid. p. 136). " Suppose but 
one nun in ten thousand wished vehemently for that liberty " (p. 137). 
"The reluctant nuns, you say, are few; — vain, unfeeling sophistry" (p. 
139). "The most sensitive, innocent, and ardent minds" (Ibid. p. 141). 
"Crime makes its way info'" (observe, not is congenial to) "those 
recesses" (Ibid. p. 135). " It is a notorious fact, that the nunneries in 
Estremadura and Portugal" {not, that are in Seville and Andalusia) 
"are frequently infected with vice of the grossest kind" (Ibid. p. 135). 
" Souls more polluted than those of some never fell within my observation, 
&c." (Life, vol. i. p. 70). Observe, "souls ;" — to the soul he limits the 
sin, and he puts the word in italics, to show that this really is his mean- 
ing, and he adds " some." When it comes to the soul, the evidence is 
very vague ; and this, out of 500, in Seville alone ! Such on the whole is 
his evidence against convents: how little of fact, how much of suspicion, 
contempt, and hatred ! how much, again, of involuntary admission in 
favour of their religious condition ! 

for the Protestant View. 159 

been much happier had they married. But this is his 
opinion, as distinct from his testimony; and in like 
manner he has other strong opinions on the miseries 
inflicted on men and women by celibacy ;* but I have 
no reliance on his judgment — nor had any one, I think, 
who knew him, he had so much prejudice, and so little 
patience — while I have the fullest confidence in his word, 
when he witnesses to facts, and facts which he knew. 

Such is this remarkable evidence, remarkable in the 
witness, and in the things witnessed, remarkable as 
coming from a person who had special means of knowing 
a Catholic country, and whose honour you may depend 
upon ; unlike such men as Ciocci and Achilli, and others, 
who also have left the Church and borne witness against 
her, whom no sensible man credits. Here is a . man 
you can trust ; and you see how little he has to say to 
the purpose of Protestantism after all. He makes the 
most indeed of his little, but he gives us the means of 
judging for ourselves. Here is no conspiracy of evil, 
no deep-laid treachery, no disguised agents prowling 
about, no horrible oaths, no secret passages, trapdoors, 
dungeons, axes, racks, and thumbscrews ; no blood and 
fire, no screams of despair, no wailing of children, no 
spectres born of feverish guilt, and flitting before the 
mental eye. Here is little more than what happens 
every day in England ; for I suppose that here in Protes- 

* The simple question is, whether more nuns are eaten up with scruples — 
mort are restless and discontented — more, are old women or old maids — 
•more sin grossly, than unmarried women in a Protestant country. Here, 
as before, I am allowing, for argument's sake, the worst side of things ; 
and nothing of all this, be it observed, even if granted, disproves — (1.) the 
religiousness of the great majority ; (2.) the angelical saintliness of many; 
(3.) the excellence and utility of the institution itself, after all drawbacks ; 
which are the poiuta a Catholic maiutaius. 

i6o True Testimony Insttfficient 

tant England there are secret unbelievers, and men who 
are fair and smooth, but inwardly corrupt, and many a 
single female wasted by weariness and sadness, and many 
a married woman cursing the day she ever took her vow; 
for these things must be, though they ought not to be, 
while the nature of man is the same. And moreover, 
as I have said, the popular voice seems to bear me out 
in the view I am taking ; for this testimony, given under 
such favourable circumstances against the Church, has 
been let drop out of print ; for it was after all tame : it 
did not do its work ; it did not go far enough ; it was 
not equal to the demand ; it was not in keeping with 
the great Protestant Tradition. 

No, it must contain something huge, enormous, 
prodigious, because the people love story books, and 
do not like dry matter of fact. How dull is history, 
or biography, or controversy, compared with a good 
romance, the Lives of highwaymen, a collection of 
ghost stories, a melodrama, a wild-beast -show, or an 
execution ! What would a Sunday newspaper be with- 
out trials, accidents, and offences ? Therefore the poor 
Catholic is dressed up like a scarecrow to gratify, on a 
large scale, the passions of curiosity, fright, and hatred. 
Something or other men must fear, men must loathe, 
men must suspect, even if it be to turn away their 
minds from their own inward miseries. Hence it is, if 
a stranger comes to a small town, that he furnishes so 
inexhaustible a supply of gossip to his neighbours, 
about who he is, what he was, whom he knows, why 
he comes, and when he will go. If a house is empty 

for the Protestant View. 1 6 1 

for a while, it is sure to be haunted. When learning 
began to revive, your student was the object of curious 
horror; and Dr Faustus, the printer and (as the 
nursery rhyme goes) schoolmaster, was made a magi- 
cian, and is still drawn as such in poems and romances. 
When, then, a Catholic church is opened in a place, 
or a monastic body takes up its abode there, its novelty 
and strangeness are a call for fiction on those who 
have a talent for invention ; and the world would be 
seriously disappointed, if all sorts of superstition were 
not detected in the Church's rites, and all sorts of 
wickedness in her priests and nuns. 

The popular appetite does not clamour long in vain. 
It asks, and it is answered. Look at that poor degraded 
creature, strolling about from village to village, from 
settlement to farmhouse, among a primitive and simple 
population. She has received an injury in her head 
when young; and this has taken away, in part, her 
responsibility, while it has filled her brain with wild 
ideas, and given it a morbid creative power. Ere she 
is grown up she leaves her home, and flits here and 
there, the prey of any one who meets with her. 
Catholics are all round about her ; as a child she has 
been in a Catholic school, and perhaps she has from 
time to time wandered into Catholic churches. She 
enters, she peers about; still and demure, yet with 
wild curious eyes, and her own wanton thoughts. She 
sees, at first glance, the sanctity and gravity of the 
ceremonial: she is struck with the appearance of 
modesty, whether in the sacred ministers or in the 
Duns ; but her evil heart instantly suggests that what 
shows so well is nothing but a show, and that close 


1 62 True Testimoyiy Insufficient 

under tlie surface lies corruption. She contemplates 
the whole scene, she cannot forget it; but she asks 
herself, What if it be but a solemn mockery cloaking 
bad deeds ? The words, the actions, so calm, so gentle, 
the words of peace, the sacramental actions, she carries 
them off with an accurate memory ; those verses and 
responses, those sweet voices, those blessings, and 
crossings, and sprinklings, and genuflections. But 
what if they all be a cloak? And when the priest 
went out, or when he spoke to any one, what was it all 
about? And when he was in his confessional, and 
first one penitent, and then another came to him, what 
could they be saying ? Ah, what indeed ! what if it 
all be but a cloak for sin ? There is the point. What 
if it be but a jest? Oh, the pleasant mischief! the 
stirring, merry fancy ! to think that men can look so 
grave, yet love sin ; that women, too, who pretend so 
much, need not be better than she is herself; that that 
meek face, or those holy hands, belong to a smooth 
hypocrite, who acts the angel and lives the devil ! She 
looks closer and closer, measuring the limbs, scanning 
the gestures, and drinking in the words of those who 
unconsciously go about their duties in her presence ; 
and imputing meanings to the most harmless ano 
indifferent actions. It really is as she suspected, 
and the truth breaks upon her more and more. Her 
impure imagination acts upon her bodily vision, and 
she begins to see the image of her own suspicions in the 
objects she is gazing on. A sort of mirage spreads 
through the sacred building, or religious house, and 
horrors of all kind float across her brain. She goes 
away, but they pursue her ; — what may not have taken 

for the Protestant View. 163 

place amid those holy rites, or within those consecrated 
walls ? The germ of a romance is already fermenting 
in her brain, and day after day it becomes more de- 
veloped in its parts, and more consistent in its form. 

Poor sinful being ! She finds herself in a Peniten- 
tiary; no, sure, it is a religious house; so she will 
consider it, so will she henceforth speak of it ; every- 
thing she sees there speaks to her of her feverish 
dream ; the penitents become nuns ; the very rooms, 
windows, passages, and stairs, she recognises them as 
conventual, the very convent which her fancy has been 
framing. Things utterly separate from each other are 
confused together in her bewildered mind ; and when 
she comes into the world again, she thinks herself a 
nun escaped from confinement, and she now begins to 
recollect scenes of indescribable horror, which gradually 
become clearer and clearer. Now, Protestant public, 
the hour is come ; you have craved after lies, and you 
shall have your fill ; you have demanded, and here is 
the supply. She opens her mouth ; she lifts her voice ; 
your oracle, your prophet, your idol, Protestant 
public, is about to speak; she begins her "Awful 
Disclosures." Who is this hapless creature, very 
wicked, very mischievous, yet much to be pitied? It 
is Maria Monk. 

My Brothers, in what I have been saying, I have but 
given substance in my own way to the facts recorded 
of her ; but those facts are simply as I have stated them. 
The history of the wretched impostor was traced out 
and given to the world immediately on the publication 
of her romance. It was deposed by divers witnesses 
that she was born of parents who had lived at Montreal 

164 True Testimony Instifflcient 

in Canada, about the year 1816. When about seven 
years old, she broke a slate pencil on her head, and 
had been strange ever since ; at the age of eight she 
frequented a convent school ; when about fourteen or 
fifteen she left her mother's roof; and is found succes- 
sively in the service of various persons, an hotel-keeper, 
a farmer, a tradesman, and others, and then for a time 
was dependent on charity. From one of her mistresses 
she absconded with a quantity of wearing-linen ; she 
was discharged by two others for her bad conduct, and 
was generally looked upon as a person of at least doubtful 
character. Then she made her appearance at Montreal 
itself, declaring she was daughter to Dr Robertson, a 
magistrate of the city, who had kept her chained in a 
cellar for four years. This attempt failing, she next 
went off to th.e United States, appeared at New York, 
and then began a second and more successful tale against 
one of the convents of the city she had left, from which 
she said she had escaped. She was taken up by a party 
of New York Protestants, who thoroughly believed her, 
and reduced her story to writing. Who was the author 
is not quite certain ; two names have been mentioned, 
one of them a person connected with this town. In 
this book, whoever wrote it, she gives a minute de- 
scription of her imaginary convent in Montreal, and 
of some of the nuns and others she professed to have 
known there. On the slander making its way to 
Montreal, Protestants carefully went over the calum- 
niated convent ; and they reported, after minute inspec- 
tion, that it in no respect answered to her account of 
it ; indeed, it was certain she had never been within it. 
It was proved, on the other hand, that her description 

for the Protestant View. 165 

did distinctly answer to a Penitentiary of which she had 
lately been an inmate, and whence she was dismissed 
for bad conduct ; and further, that the account she gave 
of her nuns in the convent answered to some of her 
fellow-penitents. Moreover, there is something about 
the book more remarkable still, not indeed as it concerns 
her, but as it concerns the argument I have in several 
of these Lectures been pursuing. I have insisted much 
on the traditional character of the fable, of which Catho- 
lics are the victims. It is the old lie, brought up again 
and again. Now this is most singularly exemplified in 
the infamous work I am speaking of. On its appearance 
the newspapers of the day asserted, without contradic- 
tion, that it was in great measure a mere republication 
of a work printed in the year 1731, under the title of 
" The Gates of Hell opened, or a Development of the 
Secrets of Nunneries." " Maria Monk's Pamphlet," 
says a Liverpool paper, "is a verbatim copy of that 
work, the only difference being a change of names." 
The editor of a Boston paper " pledged himself that 
this was the fact;" and the editor of another "was 
ready to make affidavit that the original work was in 
his possession a few months previously, when it had been 
lent to the publishers of Maria Monk's Disclosures." 
To show this he copied out passages from both works, 
which were the same word for word.* 

Here, then, you have a witness who is prepared to 
go any lengths in support of the Protestant Tradition, 
however truth or principle may lie in her way ; and 

* For these facts, v'liU " A complete Refutation of Maria Monk's 
atrocious Plot," &c., by the Kev. R. W. Willson (now Bishop of Hobart 
Town), Nottingham, 1837. 

1 66 True Testimony Insufficient 

offensive as it will be to you to listen, and painful to 
me to read, you must, for the sake of the contrast 
between her and Mr Blanco White, submit to one or' 
two of those passages from her romance, which I am 
able without impropriety to quote. 

Now, I will give you the key to the whole book con- 
sidered as a composition, and its burden, and (what 
may be called) its moral, as addressed to the Protestant 
world. It is an idea, which, as I have already said, 
was naturally suggested to an impure mind, and forcibly 
addressed itself to a curious reader. Mankind neces- 
sarily proceeds upon the notion that what is within 
discloses itself by what is without ; that the soul prompts 
the tongue, inspires the eye, and rules the demeanour ; 
and such is the doctrine of Holy Writ, when it tells us 
that " out of the abundance of the heart the mouth 
speaketh." Hence, when strangers visit a nunnery, and 
see the order, cheerfulness, and quiet which reigns 
through it, they naturally take all this as the indication 
of that inward peace and joy which ought to be the 
portion of its inmates. And again, when strangers 
attend Mass, and observe the venerable and awful 
character of the rite, they naturally are led to think 
that the priest is "holding up pure hands," and is as 
undefiled in heart as he is grave in aspect. Now it is 
the object of this Narrative to reverse this natural 
association, to establish the contrary principle, and to 
impress upon the mind that what is within is always 
what the outward appearance is not, and that the more of 
saintliness is in the exterior, the more certainly is there 
depravity and guilt in the heart. Of course it must be 
confessed, there have been cases where what looked fair 

for the Proles tant View. 167 

and beautiful was but awbited sepulchre, " full witbin 
of dead men's bones and of all filthiness ; " such cases 
have been and may be, but they are unnatural surely, 
not natural ; the exception, not the rule. To consider 
this as the rule of things, you must destroy all trust 
in the senses ; when a man laughs, you must say he is 
sad ; when he cries, you must say he is merry ; when 
he is overbearing in words, you must call him gentle ; 
and when he says foolish things, you must call him 
wise ; all because sad hearts sometimes wear cheerful 
countenances, and divine wisdom sometimes has con- 
descended to look like folly. It is reported to have 
been said by an able diplomatist, that the use of words 
is to disguise men's thoughts ; but the very wit of the 
remark lies in the preposterous principle it ironically 
implies. Yet still to the run of readers there is some- 
thing attractive in this perverted and morbid notion, 
both from a sort of malevolence and love of scandal, 
which possesses the minds of the vulgar, and from the 
wish to prove that others, who seem religious, are even 
worse than themselves ; and besides, from the desire of 
mystery and marvel, which prompts them, as I have 
said before, to have recourse to some monstrous tale of 
priestcraft for excitement, as they would betake them- 
selves to a romance or a ghost story. 

Thus she says in one place, or rather the writers, 
whoever they may be : — " I have often reflected how 
grievously I had been deceived in my opinions of a 
nun's condition — all the holiness of their lives, I now 
found, was merely pretended. The appearance of 
sanctity and heavenly-mindedness which they had 
shown among us novices, I found was only a disguise, 

1 68 True Testimony Insufficient 

to conceal such practices as would not be tolerated in 
any decent society in the world ; and, as for joy and 
peace lij^e that of heaven, which I had expected to find 
among them, I learned too well that they did not exist 

Again, speaking of a pictm'e of the infernal pit, at 
which the nuns were looking, she introduces a nun 
saying something so dreadful, that a reader hardly 
knows whether to laugh or to cry at it. "I remember 
she named the wretch who was biting at the bars of 
hell, with a serpent gnawing his head, with chains and 
padlocks on. Father Dufresne ; and she would say, 
Does he not look like him, when he comes in to cate- 
chism with his long solemn face, and begins his speeches 
with, ' My children, my hope is that you have lived 
very devout lives ? ' "f 

In such passages, the object of the writer is to fami- 
liarise the reader's imagination to the notion that hypo- 
crisy is the natural and ordinary state of things, and 
to create in him a permanent association between any 
serious act whatever and inward corruption. She makes 
the appearance of religion to be the presumption, not of 
reality, but of hollowness, and the very extravagance of 
her statements is their plausibility. The reader says, 
" It is so shocking, it must be true \ no one could have 
invented it." 

It is with a view to increase this unnatural plausibility 
that the writer or writers dwell minutely on various de- 
tails which happen, or might easily happen, in Catholic 
churches and convents. For instance, they say, " The 
old priest . . . when going to administer (the Blessed 
* P. 116. t P. 82. 

for the Protestant View. 169 

Sacrament) in any country place, used to ride with a 
man before him, who rang a bell as a signal. When the 
Canadians heard it, whose habitations he passed, they 
would come and prostrate themselves to the earth, wor- 
shipping it as God." Of course ; it is so ; Catholics do 
worship the Blessed Sacrament, because they believe It 
to be our Lord Himself. Therefore we will say so in our 
book, for we wish to lie naturally, we wish to root our 
imposture in a foundation of truth. 

Again ; " The bell rang at half-past six to awaken us. 
The old nun who was acting as night-watch immediately 
spoke aloud, ' Behold the Lord cometh ! ' The nuns all 
responded, ' Let us go and meet Him.' Presently, we 
then knelt and kissed the floor." * 

Now observe the effect of all this. When a person, 
who never was in a Catholic church or convent, reads 
such particulars ; when he reads, moreover, of the lattice- 
work of the confessional, of the stoup of holy water, 
and the custom of dipping the finger into it, of silence 
during dinner, and of recreation after it ; of a priest 
saying Mass with his hands first joined together, and 
then spread, and his face to the altar ; of his being 
addressed by the title of " my Father," and speaking of 
his " children," and many other similar particulars; and 
then afterwards actually sees some Catholic establish- 
ment, he says to himself, " This is just what the book 
said ; " " here is quite the very thing of which it gave me 
the picture ; " and I repeat he has, in consequence of his 
reliance on it, so associated the acts of the ceremonial, 
the joined hands or the downcast eyes, with what his book 
went on slanderously to connect them, with horrible 

* P. 39. 

1 70 True Testimony Insufficient 

sin, that he cannot disconnect them in his imagination ; 
and he thinks the Catholic priest already convicted of 
hypocrisy, because he observes those usages which all 
the world knows that he does observe, which he is ob- 
liged to observe, and which the Church has ever observed. 
Thus you see the very things, which are naturally so 
touching and so beautiful in the old Catholic forms of 
devotion, become by this artifice the means of infusing 
suspicion into the mind of the beholder. 

Yes ; all this outward promise of good is but a beauti- 
ful veil, hiding behind it untold horrors. Let us lift it, 
so far as we may do so without sharing in the Avriter's 
sin. Our heroine has passed through her noviciate, and 
proceeds to take the vows. Then she learns suddenly the 
horrors of her situation ; she was, in fact, in a house of 
evil spirits ; she represents herself, as was very natural, 
supposing she had been a religious person, overcome 
by distress, and unable to resign herself to her lot ; and 
she was told by the Mother Superior, " that such feel- 
ings were very common at first, and that many other 
nuns had expressed themselves as I did, who had long 
since changed their minds. She even said, on her 
entrance into the nunnery she had felt like me. Doubts, 
she declared, were among our greatest enemies. They 
would lead us to question every path of duty, and induce 
us to waver at every step. They arose only from remain- 
ing imperfections, and were always evidences of sin ; our 
only way was to dismiss them immediately, to repent, 
to confess them. They were deadly sins, and would 
condemn us to hell if we should die without confessing 
them. Priests, she insisted, could not sin. It was a 

for the Protestant View. 171 

thing impossible. Everything they did and wished was 
of course right."* 

Now, my Brothers, you know there is a divine law 
written on the heart by nature, and that the Catholic 
Church is built on that law, and cannot undo it. No 
Priest, no Bishop, no Council can make that right which 
is base and shameful. In this passage the false witness 
would make the Protestant world believe that nuns are 
obliged to obey their confessors in commands strictly 
sinful, and horrible, and blasphemous. How different 
from the true witness, Mr Blanco White ! He said all 
he could against convents ; he never hinted that religious 
women were taught by the priests that priests could not 
possibly sin, could not possibly issue a sinful command, 
could not possibly have a sinful wish ; and therefore 
must be obeyed whatever they asked ; he never hinted, 
from any experience of his, that in matter of fact they 
did make any sinful suggestions. His quarrel with the 
Catholic religion was that it was too strict, not that it 
was too lax ; that it gave rise to nervousness, scruples, 
and melancholy. His utmost accusation (except as 
regards the unbelieving few) was that he knew ' some 
persons, and he believed there were others, who sinned, 
knew their sin, came and confessed it, and sinned again. 
There was no calling evil good, and good evil. Let her 
continue her revelations : — 

" She also gave me another piece of information, 
which excited other feelings in me scarcely less dread- 
ful. Infants were sometimes born in the convent, but 
they were always baptized, and immediately strangled. 
This secured their everlasting happiness ; for the baptism 
♦ P. 35. 

172 True Testimony Insufficient 

purified them from all sinfulness, and being sent out of 
the world before they had time to do anything wrong, 
they were at once admitted into heaven. How happy, 
she exclaimed, are those who secure immortal happiness 
for such little beings ! Their little souls would thank 
those who killed their bodies, if they had it in their 

" So far as I know, there were no pains taken to 
preserve secrecy on this subject. ... I believe I learned 
through the nuns that at least eighteen or twenty infants 
were smothered, and secretly buried in the cellar, while 
I was a nun."t 

The nuns, according to her account, underwent the 
same fate, if they would not resign themselves to the 
mode of life in all its details, for which alone, as it 
would seem, the nunnery was set up. She gives an 
account of the murder of one of them; and after quoting 
this, I consider I may fairly be excused from quoting 
any more. 

" I entered the door," she says, " my companions 
standing behind me, as the place was so small as hardly 
to hold five persons at a time. The young nun was 
standing alone, near the middle of the room ; she was 
probably about twenty, with light hair, blue eyes, and 
a very fair complexion." % The poor victim is brought 
to the Bishop, who, the writer says, " it was easy to 
perceive, considered her fate to be sealed, and was deter- 
mined she should not escape. In reply to some of the 
questions put to her, she was silent ; to others, I heard 
her voice reply that she did not repent of words she 
had uttered, though they had been reported by some 
• p. 35. + P. 120. X P. 75. 

for the Protestant View. 173 

of the nuns who had heard them ; that she had firmly 
resolved to resist any attempt to compel her to the 
commission of crimes which she detested. She added 
that she would rather die than cause the murder of 
harmless babes. ' That is enough, finish her ! ' said the 
Bishop. Two nuns instantly fell upon the woman ; and 
in obedience to directions given by the Superior, pre- 
pared to execute her sentence. She still maintained all 
the calmness and submission of a lamb." Then they 
gag her, and throw her on a bed. " In an instant," the 
narrative proceeds, " another bed was thrown upon her. 
One of the priests sprung like a fury upon it with all 
his force. He was speedily followed' by the nuns, until 
there was as many upon the bed as could find room, and 
all did what they could, not only to smother, but to 
bruise her. . . . After the lapse of fifteen or twenty 
minutes, and when it was presumed that the sufferer 
had been smothered and crushed to death, (the priest) 
and the nuns ceased to trample upon her, and stepped 
from the bed. All was motionless and silent beneath 
it. They then began to laugh," &c. 

But I surely need not continue trash such as this, 
which is as stupid as it is atrocious. In like manner, 
she tells us the number of nuns killed, the number who 
killed themselves, the various penances and tortures 
which were common, gags, hot irons, glass chewing, 
and the "cap;" the cells, and everything which is 
proper furniture of such an abode. She concludes the 
book with a solemn reflection, how hard it is to think 
aright after thinking wrong. " The Scriptures," she 
is made to say, " always affect me powerfully when I 
read them ; but I feel that I have but just begun to 

1 74 • True Testimony Insufficient 

learn the great truths, in which I ought to have been 
early instructed. . . . The first passage of Scripture 
that made any serious impression on my mind, was 
the text on which the chaplain preached on the Sab- 
bath after my introduction into the house, ' Search the 
Scriptures : ' " — and so the book ends. 

I have now described, first, the character of the 
writer, next, the character of her book ; one point alone 
remains, its reception by the public. The calumny 
first appeared in 1836, it still thrives and flourishes in 
1851. I have made inquiries, and I am told I may 
safely say that in the course of the fifteen years that it 
has lasted, from 200,000 to 250,000 copies have been put 
into circulation in America and England. The edition 
I have used is printed at Nottingham in the present 
year. A vast number of copies has been sold at a 
cheap rate, and given away by persons who ought to 
have known it was a mere blasphemous fiction. At this 
very time the book is found, I believe, in some of the 
parochial lending libraries of this place, and I hear 
rumours concerning some of the distributors, which, 
from the respect I wish to entertain towards their 
names, I do not know how to credit. Nor have these 
various efi'orts been without visible fruit, at least in 
America. A nunnery was burned down at Charles- 
town; and at New York fifty houses, inhabited by 
Catholics, were also destroyed by fire, which extended 
to the Cathedral. 


And thus I have completed, my Brothers, the con- 
trast I proposed to set before you. A writer of name, 
of character, of honour, of gentleman-like feeling, who 

for the Protestant View. 175 

has the entre of the first and most intellectual circles 
of the metropolis, and is the friend of the first Pro- 
testant ecclesiastics of his day, records his testimony 
against Catholicism; it is in the main true, and it 
fails : — a worthless stroller gets her own testimony put 
into writing ; it is a heap of fables, and it triumph- 
antly succeeds. Let, then, the Protestant public be 
itself the judge : — its preference of Maria Monk to 
Blanco White reveals a great fact ; — truth is not equal 
to the exigencies of the Protestant cause ; falsehood is 
its best friend. 

Nor let it be imagined, my Brothers, that I have 
unfairly selected my examples, in order to serve a pur- 
pose. Inhabitants of Birmingham ought, more than 
others, to acquit me of this. Only two years have I 
been here, and each of these two have been signalised 
by accusations against Catholics, similar, in the disre- 
putableness of their authors, and in the enormity of 
their falsehood, and in the brilliancy of their success, 
to the calumnies of Maria Monk. Two years ago it 
was Jeffreys ; last year it was Teodore. You recollect 
how Jeffreys acted his part, how he wept, and prayed, 
and harangued, and raised a whole population against 
an innocent company of monks ; and how he was con- 
victed of fraud, and confessed his guilt, and was sent 
to prison. You also recollect how an impostor, called 
Teodore, declaimed such shocking things, and WTote 
such indecent pamphlets against us, that they cannot 
have been intended for any other purpose than to afford 
merriment to the haunts of profligacy and vice ; yet he 
was followed for a time, was admitted into Protestant 
places of worship, and honoured as a truth-telling 

1 76 True Testimony Insufficient, &c. 

oracle, till at length he was plainly detected to be what 
every one from the first would have seen he really was, 
were it usual to do the same common justice to Catho- 
lics which every Protestant considers his due; — for 
falsehood is the basis of the Protestant Tradition. 

On the other hand, I might give you other instances 
similar to that of Mr Blanco White. I might point to 
Mr Steimnitz, who, within the last ten years, began 
his noviciate among the Jesuits, left them, turned Pro- 
testant, and published an account of the community he 
had quitted. He wrote to expose them, and abounded 
in bitterness and invective ; but as to his facts, so little 
had he to produce from his own personal knowledge to 
the disadvantage of the institution he was attacking, 
and so severely did he disappoint the Protestants for 
whom he wrote, that they considered his work what 
they called a Jesuitical trick, and said that he was 
pretending to attack the good fathers in order really to 
set them off to advantage ; — for truth does but preju- 
dice the Protestant Tradition. 

Falsehood succeeds for a generation, or for a period ; 
but there it has its full course and comes to an end. 
Truth is eternal ; it is great, and will prevail. The 
end is the proof of things. Brothers of the Oratory, 
surely we shall succeed, because " they say all manner 
of evil against us falsely for His Name's sake. 



A CONSIDERATION was incidentally introduced 
into the argument which engaged our attention last, 
week, Brothers of the Oratory, which deserves insisting 
on, in the general view which I am taking of the 
present position of the Catholic Religion in England. 
I then said that, even putting aside the special merits 
and recommendations of the Catholic rule of celibacy, 
as enjoined upon the Priesthood and as involved in 
Monachism, (with which I was not concerned), and look- 
ing at the question in the simple view of it, to which 
Protestants confine themselves, and keeping ourselves 
strictly on the defensive, still, when instances of bad 
priests and bad religious are brought against us, we 
might fairly fall back upon what may be called the 
previous question. I mean, it is incumbent on our 
opponents to show, that there are fewer cases of scandal 
among the married clergy than among unmarried ; fewer 
cases of mental conflict, of restlessness, of despon- 
dency, of desolation, of immorality, and again of cruel 
slavery and hopeless suffering, among Protestant 
women, whether unmarried or wives, than among 


178 Logical Inconsistency of 

Catholic nuns. It must be shown that in such 
instances of guilt or sorrow which can be adduced, the 
priests accused have fallen into sin, the nuns com- 
passionated have passed from happiness to misery, 
distinctly hy virtue of the vow which binds them to a 
single life : — for till this is proved nothing is proved. 
Protestants, however, for the most part find it very 
pleasant to attack others, very irksome and annoying 
to defend themselves ; they judge us by one rule, 
themselves by another ; and they convict us of every 
sin under heaven for doing sometimes what they do 
every day. 

This one-sidedness, as it may be called, is one of the 
very marks or notes of a Protestant ; and bear in mind, 
when I use the word Protestant, I do not mean thereby 
all who are not Catholics, but distinctly the disciples of 
the Elizabethan Tradition. Such an one cannot afibrd to 
be fair ; he cannot be fair if he tries. He is ignorant, 
and he goes on to be unjust. He has always viewed 
things in one light, and he cannot adapt himself to any 
other ; he cannot throw himself into the ideas of other 
men, fix upon the principles on which those ideas 
depend, and then set himself to ascertain how those 
principles difier, or whether they differ at all, from 
those which he acts upon himself; and, like a man 
who has been for a long while in one position, he is 
cramped and disabled, and has a difficulty and pain, 
more than we can well conceive, in stretching his 
limbs, straightening them, and moving them freely. 


This narrow and one-sided condition of the Protestant 

the Protestant View. 1 79 

intellect might be illustrated in various ways. (1.) For 
instance, as regards the subject of Education. It has 
lately been forcibly shown that the point which the 
Catholic Church is maintaining against the British 
Government in Ireland, as respects the Queen's Colleges 
for the education of the middle and upper classes, is 
precisely that which Protestantism maintains, and 
successfully maintains, against that same Government 
in England — viz., that secular instruction should not 
be separated from religious.* The Catholics of Ireland 
are asserting the very same principle as the Protestants 
of England ; however, the Minister does not feel the 
logical force of the fact ; and the same persons who 
think it so tolerable to indulge Protestantism in the 
one country, are irritated and incensed at a Catholic 
people for asking to be similarly indulged in the other. 
But how is it that intelligent men, who can ascend in 
their minds from the fall of an apple to the revolution 
of a comet, who can apply their economical and political 
inductions from English affairs to the amelioration of 
Italy and Spain — how is it, that, when they come to a 
question of religion, they are suddenly incapable of 
understanding that what is reasonable and defensible 
in one country, is not utterly preposterous and para- 
doxical in another ? What is true under one degree of 
longitude, is true under another. You have a right 
indeed to say that Catholicism itself is not true ; but 
you have no right, for it is bad logic, to be surprised 
that those who think it true act consistently with that 
supposition ; you do not well to be angry with those who 
resist a policy in Ireland which your own friends and 

* Yidc Tablet Newspaper, May 31, 1851. 

i8o Logical Inconsistency of 

supporters cordially detest and triumphantly withstand 
in England. 

(2, ) Take again a very different subject. A Protestant 
blames Catholics for showing honour to images ; yet he 
does it himself. And first, he sees no difficulty in a 
mode of treating them, quite as repugnant to his own 
ideas of what is rational, as the practice he abominates ; 
and that is, the offering insult and mockery to them. 
Where is the good sense of showing dishonour, if it be 
stupid and brutish to show honour ? Approbation and 
criticism, praise and blame go together. I do not 
mean, of course, that you dishonour what you honour ; 
but that the two ideas of honour and dishonour so go 
together, that where you can apply — (rightly or wrongly, 
but still) — where it is possible to apply the one, it is 
possible to apply the other. Tell me, then, what is 
meant by burning Bishops, or Cardinals, or Popes in 
effigy ? has it no meaning ? is it not plainly intended 
for an insult? Would any one who was burned in 
effigy feel it no insult? Well, then, how is it not 
absurd to feel pain at being dishonoured in effigy, yet 
absurd to feel pleasure at being honoured in effigy ? 
How is it childish to honour an image, if it is not childish 
to dishonour it ? This only can a Protestant say in 
defence of the act which he allows and practises, that 
he is used to it, whereas to the other he is not used. 
Honour is a new idea, it comes strange to him ; and, 
wonderful to say, he does not see that he has admitted 
it in principle already, in admitting dishonour, and 
after preaching against the Catholic who crowns an 
image of the Madonna, he complacently goes his way, 
and sets light to a straw effigy of Guy Fawkes. 

the Protestant View. 1 8 1 

But this is not all; Protestants actually set up images 
to represent their heroes, and they show them honour 
without any misgiving. The very flower and cream of 
Protestantism used to glory in the statue of King 
William on College Green, Dublin \ and, though I 
cannot make any reference in print, I recollect well 
what a shriek they raised some years ago, when the 
figure was unhorsed. Some profane person one night 
applied gunpowder, and blew the king right out of his 
saddle ; and he was found by those who took interest in 
him, like Dagon, on the ground. You might have 
thought the poor senseless block had life, to see the 
way people took on about it, and how they spoke of his 
face, and his arms, and his legs ; yet those same 
Protestants, I say, would at the same time be horrified, 
had I used " he " and " him " of a crucifix, and would 
call me one of the monsters described in the Apo- 
calypse, did I but honour my living Lord as they their 
dead king. 

(3.) Another instance: — When James the Second 
went out, and the aforesaid William came in, there 
were persons who refused to swear fidelity to William, 
because they had already sworn fidelity to James ; and 
who was to dispense them from their oath ? yet these 
scrupulous men were the few. The many virtually 
decided that the oath had been conditional, depending 
on their old king's good behaviour, though there was 
nothing to show it in the words in which it ran : and 
that accordingly they had no need to keep it any 
longer than they liked. And so, in a similar way, 
supposing a Catholic priest, who has embraced the 
Protestant persuasion, to come over' to this country 

1 8 2 L ogical Inconsistency of 

and marry a wife, wlio among his new co-religionists 
would dream of being shocked at it ? Every one would 
think it both natural and becoming, and reasonable 
too, as a protest against Romish superstition ; yet the 
man has taken a vow, and the man has broken it. 
" Oh ! but he had no business to make such a vow ; he 
did it in ignorance, it was antichristian, it was un- 
lawful." There are then, it seems, after all, such 
things as unlawful oaths, and unlawful oaths are not 
to be kept, and there are cases which require a dispen- 
sation ; yet let a Catholic say this, and he says nothing 
more, — (rather he says much less than the Protestant ; 
for he strictly defines the limits of what is lawful and 
what is unlawful ; he takes a scientific view of the 
matter, and he forbids a man to be judge in his own 
case), — let a Catholic, I say, assert what the Protestant 
practises^ and he has furnished matter for half-a-dozen 
platform speeches, and a whole set of Reformation 

These are some of the instances, which might be 
enlarged upon, of the blindness of our opponents to 
those very same acts or principles in themselves, which 
they impute as enormities to us ; but I leave them for 
your consideration, my Brothers, and proceed to an 
instance of a difierent character. 

What is a more fruitful theme of declamation against 
us, than the charge of persecution? The Catholic 
Church is a persecuting power ; and every one of us is 
a persecutor ; and, if we are not by nature persecutors, 
yet we are forced to be persecutors by the necessity we 


the Protestant View. 183 

lie under of obeying a persecuting Churcli. Now let 
us direct a careful attention to this Protestant land, 
which has so virtuous a horror of persecution, and so 
noble a loathing of persecutors, and so tender a com- 
passion for the persecuted, and let us consider whether 
the multitude of men are not, to say the least, in the 
same boat with us ; whether there is anything which we 
are said to do which they do not do also, anything 
which we are said to have done which they have not 
done, and therefore, whether, with this theoretical indig- 
nation of persecution on the one hand, and this practical 
sanction of it on the other, they are not in the very 
position of that great king, in his evil hour, who sen- 
tenced a transgressor, when he himself was " the man." 
Now I suppose, when men speak of persecution, and 
say that Catholics persecute, they mean that Catholics, 
on the score of religious opinions, inflict punishment on 
persons, property, privileges, or reputation ; that we 
hate, calumniate, mock, mob, and distress those who 
differ from us; that we pursue them with tests, disabi- 
lities, civil penalties, imprisonment, banishment, slavery, 
torture, and death ; that we are inflexible in our tempers, 
relentless in our measures, perfidious in our dealings, 
and remorseless in our inflictions. Something of this 
kind will be said, . with a good deal of exaggeration 
even at very first sight : but still, as even a candid man 
may perhaps fancy, with some truth at the bottom. 
Well, see what I propose to do. I shall not discuss 
any point of doctrine or principle : such a task would 
not fall within the scope of these Lectures ; I am not 
going to assume that savage cruelty, ruthless animosity, 
frantic passion, that the love of tormenting and delight 

184 L ogica I Inconsistency of 

in death are right, nor am I going to assume that they 
are wrong; I am not entering upon any question of 
the moral law ; — moreover, I will not discuss how far 
Catholics fairly fall in fact under the charge of barba- 
rity, mercilessness, and fanaticism, and for this reason, 
because it is not my concern ; for I mean to maintain, 
that the acts imputed to Catholics, whatever be their 
character, so very closely resemble in principle what is 
done by Protestants themselves, and in a Protestant's 
judgment is natural, explicable, and becoming, that 
Protestants are just the very last persons in the world 
who can with safety or consistency call Catholics per- 
secutors, for the simple reason, that they should not 
throw stones who live in glass houses. 

I am maintaining no paradox in saying this ; it is a 
truth which is maintained by intelligent Protestants 
themselves. There is Dr Whately, the present Protest- 
ant Archbishop of Dublin, one of the first writers of 
the day, and a most violent opponent of Catholicism ; 
listen how he speaks, at the very time he is inveighing 
against our Holy Religion. " The Romish Church," he 
says, " which has so long and so loudly been stigmatised 
as a persecuting Church, is, indeed, deeply stained with 
this guilt, but cannot with any reason be reckoned 
the originating cause of it. . . . This, as well as the 
other Romish errors, has its root in the evil heart of 
the unrenewed man. Like the rest, it neither began 
with Romanism, nor can reasonably be expected to end 
with it."* 

Now, what I shall do is, to take the Protestant in 
his house, his family, and his circle of friends, in his 

* Whately on Romanism, p. 225. 

the Protestant View. 185 

occupation, and his civil and political position, as 
a good kind father, as a liberal master, as a useful 
member of society ; and to consider, as regards this 
matter of persecution, whether, could he see himself in 
a looking-glass, he would not mistake himself for a 

For instance, what is the first and natural act on the 
part of a Protestant father of a family, when he receives 
the intelligence that his son or daughter, grown up to 
man's or woman's estate, nay, long since come of age, 
has become, or is on the point of becoming a Catholic? 
Of course there are exceptions ; but in most cases his 
conduct is so uniform, so suggestive of a general law, 
to which particular cases belong, that I almost fear to 
describe it, lest, what is farthest from my wish, I seem 
to be personal, and to be indulging in satire, when I 
am but pursuing an argument. " My dear John or 
James," the father says, calling him by his Christian 
name, "you know how tenderly I love you, and how 
indulgent I have ever been to you. I have given you 
the best of educations, and I have been proud of you. 
There is just one thing I cannot stand, and that is 
Popery ; and this is the very thing you have gone and 
taken up. You have exercised your right of private 
judgment ; I do not quarrel with you for this ; you are 
old enough to judge for yourself ; but I too have sacred 
duties, which are the unavoidable result of your con- 
duct. I have duties to your brothers and sisters ; — 
never see my face again ; my door is closed to yon. 
It wounds me to come to this decision, but what can I 
do ? My affection for you is as strong as ever it was, 
but you have placed yourself under influences hostile 

1 86 Logical Inconsistency of 

to your father's roof and your own home, and you must 
take the consequences." 

No one can look round him, who has much to do 
with conversions and converts, without seeing this ful- 
filled often to the letter, and mutatis mutandis, in a 
variety of parallel cases. Protestants have felt it right, 
just, and necessary, to break the holiest of earthly ties, 
and to inflict the acutest temporal suffering on those 
who have exercised their private judgment in the choice 
of a religion. They have so acted, and they so act 
daily. A sense of duty to religious opinions, and of 
the supposed religious interests of those intrusted to 
them, has triumphed over the feelings of nature. Years 
have passed, perhaps death has come, without any signs 
of recognition passing from the father to the son. 
Sometimes the severance and its consequences may be 
sterner still : the wife may be sent away, her children 
taken from her, because she felt a call in conscience to 
join the Catholic Church. The son has been cut off 
(as they say) to a shilling. The daughter has been 
locked up, her books burned, the rites of her religion 
forbidden her. The malediction has been continued to 
the third generation; the grandchildren, the child 
unborn, has not been tolerated by the head of the family, 
because the parents were converts to the faith of their 

Nature pleads ; and therefore, to fortify the mind, 
the various reasons for such severity must be distinctly 
passed before it, and impressed upon it, and passion 
must be roused to overcome affection. " Such a base, 
grovelling, demoralising religion, unworthy of a man 
of sense, unworthy of a man ! I could have borne his 

the Protestant View. 187 

tnrning Drummondite, Plymouth-Brother, or Mor- 
monite. He might almost have joined the Agapemone. 
I would rather see him an unbeliever ; yes, I say it 
deliberately, Popery is worse than Paganism. I had 
rather see him dead. I could have borne to see him in 
his coJ0S.n. I cannot see him the slave of a priest. 
And then the way in which he took the step : he never 
let me know, and had been received before I had had 
a hint about it; " or, '' he told me what he meant to 
do, and then did it in spite of me ; " or, " he was so 
weak and silly," or " so headstrong," or " so long and 
obstinately set upon it." " He had nothing to say for 
himself," or "he was always arguing." "He was 
inveigled into it by others," or " he ought to have con- 
sulted others, he had no right to have an opinion. 
Anyhow he is preferring strangers to his true friends ; 
he has shown an utter disregard of the feelings of his 
parents and relations ; he has been ungrateful to his 

These are a few out of the many thoughts which 
pass through the Protestant's mind under the circum- 
stances I have supposed, and which impel him to inflict 
a severe penalty on a child for a change of religion. 
And if there be Protestant fathers who demur to the 
correctness of this representation (and I am using the 
word Protestant in its proper sense, as I have noticed 
several times before), I beg to ask such parents whether, 
in fact, they have themselves suffered the affliction I 
have supposed, — I mean, that of their children becom- 
ing Catholics ; and, if they have not, I entreat them 
to fancy such an afiiiction for a moment, and how they 
would feel and act if it really took place. Rather they 

1 8 8 L ogical Inconsistency of 

will not be able to get themselves to fancy it ; I am 
sure that most of them will revolt from the thought in 
indignation ; the very supposition irritates them. " I 
should like to see any son or daughter of mine turning 
Papist ! " is the thought which spontaneously rises in 
their mind. 

I have been speaking of the upper and middle classes : 
in the lower the feeling is the same, only more un- 
courteously expressed, and acted on more summarily. 
The daughter, on her return home, tells the mother 
that she has been attending, and means to attend, 
the Catholic chapel ; whereupon the mother instantly 
knocks the daughter down, and takes away from her 
her bonnet and shawl, and the rest of her clothes, to 
keep her in-doors : or if it is the case of a wife, the 
husband falls to cursing, protests he will kill her if she 
goes near the Catholics, and that if the priest comes 
there, he will pitch him out of window. Such are 
specimens of what Dr Whately truly calls, " the evil 
heart of the unrenewed man." 

Perhaps, however, the one party or the other gives 
way; milder counsels prevail with the persecutor, or 
the persecuted is menaced into submission. A poor 
child is teased and worried, till, to escape black looks, 
sharp speeches, petty mortifications, and the unsym- 
pathising chill of the domestic atmosphere, she consents 
to go to Protestant worship ; and is forced to sit, stand, 
and kneel, in outward deference to a ceremonial which 
she utterly disbelieves, and perhaps hates. At length, 
doing violence to her conscience, she loses her sense of 
the reality of Catholicism, grows indifferent to all 
religion, sceptical of the truth of every thing, and utterly 

the Protestant View. 189 

desponding and sick at heart and miserable. Her 
friends suspect her state, hut it is better than Popery ; 
their detestation of the Catholic religion is so intense, 
that, provided their child is saved from its influence, 
for them she may believe anything or nothing ; and as 
to her distress of mind, time will overcome it — they 
will get her married. Such is a Protestant's practical 
notion of freedom of opinion, religious liberty, private 
judgment, and those other fine principles which he 
preaches up with such unction in public meetings, and 
toasts so enthusiastically at public dinners. 

Perhaps, however, there is a compromise. Terms 
are made, conditions exacted ; the parties who have 
made the mistake of thinking they might judge for 
themselves, are taken into favour again, — are received 
under the paternal roof on the rigid stipulation that no 
sign of Catholicism is to escape them ; their mouths 
are to be sealed ; their devotional manuals to be hid ; 
their beads must never escape from their pocket ; their 
crucifix must lie in a drawer ; Opinion is to be simply 
put down in the family. 

As to domestic servants whose crime it is to be 
Catholics, far more summary measures are taken with 
them, not less cruel in effect, though more plausible 
in representation. They are the first to suffer from a 
popular cry against the Catholic religion. Perhaps 
some reverend person, high in station, draws public 
attention to this defenceless portion of the community, 
— not to protect them from those moral dangers which 
benevolent statesmen are striving to mitigate, — but to 
make them the objects of suspicion, and to set their 
masters and mistresses against them. Suddenly a vast 

190 Logical hiconsistency of 

number of young persons are thrown out of their situa- 
tions, simply because they are Catholics — because, 
forsooth, they are supposed to be emissaries of the 
Jesuits, spies upon the family, and secret preachers of 
Popery. Whither are they to go? home they have 
none : trials and perils they have without number, 
which ought to excite remorse in the breasts of those 
who, at the gain of a smart argument in controversy, 
or a telling paragraph in a speech or a charge, are the 
cause of their misfortunes. They look about in vain 
for a fresh place ; and their only chance of success is by 
accepting any wages, however poor, which are offered 
them, and going into any service, however hard, how- 
ever low, however disadvantageous. Well, but let us 
suppose the best that can befall them : they shall be 
tolerated in a household and not discharged ; but what 
is the price they pay for this indulgence ? They are to 
give up their religious duties ; never to go to confession ; 
only once or twice a year to mass ; or an arrangement 
is made, as a great favour, to allow them to go monthly. 
]!iJoreover, they are had up into the parlour or drawing 
room for family prayers, or to hear tracts and treatises, 
abusive of their religion, or to endure the presence of 
some solemn Protestant curate, who is expressly sum- 
moned to scare and browbeat, if he cannot persuade, a 
safe victim, whom her hard circumstances have made 
dependent on the tyranny of others. 

Now, I would have every Protestant, to whom my 
words may come, put his hand on his heart and say, 
first, whether scenes such as I have been describing, 
whether in high life or in low, are not very much what 
he would call persecution in Catholics, and next, 

the Protestant View. 1 9 1 

whether they can, by any the utmost ingenuity, be 
referred, in the cases supposed, to any Catholic influence 
as their cause. On the contrary, they come out of the 
very depths and innermost shrine of the Protestant 
heart : it is undeniable, the very staunchest Protestants 
are the actors in them : nay, the stauncher they are, 
the more faithfully do they sustain their part : and yet, 
I repeat, if a similar occurrence were reported of some 
Catholic family in Italy or Spain, these very persons 
whose conduct I have been describing would listen with 
great satisfaction to the invectives of any itinerant 
declaimer, who should work up the sternness of the 
father,, the fury of the mother, the beggary of children 
and grandchildren, the blows struck, the imprecations 
uttered, the imprisonment, the over-persuasion, or the 
compulsory compromise, into a demonstration that 
Popery was nothing else than a persecuting power, 
which was impatient of light, and afraid of inquiry, and 
which imposed upon fathers, mothers, and husbands, 
under pain of reprobation, the duty of tormenting their 
children, and discharging their servants at an hour's 

Let us walk abroad with those children or servants, 
who, by the spirit of Protestantism, have been sent 
about their business for being Catholics, and we shall 
see fresh manifestations of its intolerance. Go into 
the workshops and manufactories, you will find it in 
fall operation. The convert to Catholicism is dismissed 
by his employer ; the tradesman loses his custom ; the 
practitioner his patients ; the lawyer has no longer the 
confidence of his clients ; pecuniary aid is reclaimed, 
or its promise recalled ; business is crippled, the shop 

192 Logical Inconsistency of 

cannot be opened ; the old is left without provision, 
the young without his outfit — he must look about for 
himself; his friends fight shy of him ; gradually they 
drop him, if they do not disown him at once. There 
used to be pleasant houses open to him, and a circle of 
acquaintance. People were glad to see him, and he felt 
himself, though solitary, not lonely ; he was by himself, 
indeed, but he had always a refuge from himself, with- 
out having recourse to public amusements which he 
disliked. It is now all at an end ; he gets no more 
invitations ; he is not a welcome guest. He at length 
finds himself in Coventry ; and where his presence once 
was found, now it is replaced by malicious and monstrous 
tales about him, distorted shadows of himself, freely 
circulated, and readily believed. What is his crime ? — 
he is a Catholic among Protestants. 


If such is the conduct of Protestant society towards 
individuals, what is it not against the Priest ? what 
against the Catholic Name itself? Do you think it is 
with the good will of Establishment, Wesleyan Con- 
nection, and various other denominations of religion, 
that Catholics are in Birmingham at all ? do we worship, 
— have we a place of worship, — with or against the 
will of the bodies in question ? Would they not close 
all our churches and chapels to-morrow, would they 
not cut the ground from under us, if they could ? what 
hinders them from turning us all out of the place, 
except that they can't ? Attend to this, my Brothers, 
and observe its bearing. You know what an outcry is 
raised, because the Roman Government does not sell 

the Protestant View. 1,93 

or give ground to Protestants to build a Protestant 
Church in the centre of Rome ; that government hinders 
them there, because it is able ; Protestants do not hinder 
us here, because they are not able. Can they, in the 
face of day, deny this? — they cannot. Why, then, 
do they find fault with others who do, because they can, 
what they themselves would do if they could ? Do not 
tell me, then, that they are in earnest when they speak 
of the " intolerance of Catholics " abroad; they ought 
to come into court with clean hands. They do just the 
same themselves, as far as they can ; only, since they 
cannot do it to their mind's content, they are determined 
it shall form an article of impeachment against us ; 
and they eagerly throw a stone that comes to hand, 
though it is only by an accident that it does not fall 
back on themselves. 

It has lately been reported in the papers that the 
Catholics of Italy are going to build a Church in Lon- 
don for their poor countrymen, who in great numbers 
are found there. Let them go to the Board of Woods 
and Forests (and less equitable bodies might be found), 
and try to negotiate a purchase of ground for a site ; 
would Government for a moment entertain the proposal? 
would it not laugh at their impudence in asking ? would 
the people suffer the Government, even if it were dis- 
posed? would there not be petitions sent up to the two 
Houses, enough to break the tables on which they were 
ranged, — petitions to the Queen, enough to block up the 
Home Office ? would not the whole press, both daily 
and weekly, in town and in country, groan and tremble 
under the portentous agitation such a project would 
occasion ? Happily for Catholics, other ground is to 

N . 

194 Logical Inconsistency of 

be had. But would not Court and Ministry, Establisli- 
ment, Wesleyans, almost every political party, almost 
all the denominations of London, the Court of Alder- 
men, the Common Council, the City Companies, the 
great landlords, the Inns of Court, and the Vestries, 
hinder any Catholic Church if they could ? Yet these 
are the parties to cry out against a line of conduct in 
Eome, which they do their best to imitate in London. 

But this is not all : in spite of their manifesting, 
every day of their lives, an intense desire to do us all 
the harm in their power, wonderful to say, they go on to 
reproach us with ingratitude. We evince no gratitude, 
say the Protestant Bishops, for the favours which have 
been shown us. Gratitude for what? What favours 
have we received ? the Frenchman's good fortune, and 
nothing else. When he boasted the king had spoken 
to him, he was naturally asked what the king had said : 
and he answered, that his Majesty had most graciously 
cried out to him, '' Fellow, stand out of the way." 
Statesmen would ignore us if they could ; they recog- 
nise us in order to coerce ; they cannot coerce without 
recognising, therefore at last they condescend to recog- 
nise. When there was a proposal, several years ago, for 
an interchange of ministers between England and the 
Pope, then they would not have his name mentioned ; 
he was not to be called by any title of his own, but by 
a new-fangled name, framed for the occasion. He 
was to be known as " Sovereign of the Roman States ;" 
a title which pretty well provided, should occasion 
occur, for treating with some other sovereign power in 
his States, who should not be he. Now that they wish 
to do him an injury, forthwith they wake up to the 

the Protestant View. 195 

fact of his existence. Our statesmen affect to know 
nothing of the greatest power on earth, the most ancient 
dynasty in history, till it comes right across their path, 
and then they can recognise as foes, what before they 
could not recognise as gentlemen. 

Indeed, if the truth must be told, so one-sided is this 
Protestantism, that its supporters have not yet admitted 
the notion into their minds, that the Catholic Church 
has as much right to make converts in England, as 
any other denomination. It is a new idea to them ; 
they had thought she ought to be content with vegetating, 
as a sickly plant, in some back-yard or garret window ; 
but to attempt to spread her faith abroad — this is the 
real insidiousness, and the veritable insult. I say this 
advisedly. Some public men, indeed, have even con- 
fessed it; they have been candid enough to admit 
distinctly, that the Penal Bill is intended to throw a 
damper on our energies ; and others imply it who dare 
not say it. There are words, for instance, imputed to 
the Prime Minister, with reference to a publication of 
my own, which put the matter in a very clear point of 
view. I have to acknowledge his civility to myself 
personally ; and I am sure, though I have an aversion 
to his party and his politics, of twenty, nay thirty 
years' standing, yet I bear nothing but goodwill to him- 
self, except as the representative of the one and of the 
other. But now consider what he said. It appears he 
had laid it down, that his only object in his Parlia- 
mentary measure was to resist any temporal pretensions 
of the Pope ; and in proof, observe, that such preten- 
sions were made, what does he do, but quote some 
words which I used in a sermon preached at Chad's, 

196 Logical Inconsistency of 

last October, on occasion of the Establisliment of the 
Hierarchy. Now what was that sermon about? was 
there a word in it about Catholics exercising or gaining 
temporal power in England, which was the point on 
which he was insisting? — not a syllable. I may con- 
fidently say, for I know my own feelings on the subject, 
that the notion of any civil or political aggrandisement 
of Catholicism never came into my head. From the 
beginning to the end of the sermon, I spoke simply and 
purely of conversions — of conversions of individuals, 
of the spread of the Church by means of individual 
conversions, by the exercise of private judgment, by 
the communication of mind with mind, by the conflict 
of opinion, by the zeal of converts, and in the midst of 
persecution ; not by any general plan of operation, or 
by political movement, or by external influence bearing 
upon the country. Such a growth of Catholicism, 
intellectual, gradual, moral, peaceable, and stable, I 
certainly predicted and predict, and such only: yet 
this, though the fruit of free opinion and disputation, 
is adduced by the Premier as an intelligible, as a suffi- 
cient, reason for introducing a measure of coercion. 

An intellectual movement must be met by Act of Par- 
liament. Can a clearer proof be required, that not our 
political intrigues — for we are guilty of none — but our 
moral and argumentative power, is the real object of 
apprehension and attack ? they wish to coerce us because 
we are zealous, and they venture to coerce us because 
we are few. They coerce us for the crime of being few 
and wishing to be many. They coerce us while they 
can, lest they should not dare to coerce when another 
twenty years has passed over our heads. " Hit him, 

the Protestant View. 197 

lie 's down ! " this is the cry of the Ministry, the country 
gentlemen, the Establishment, and Exeter Hall. There- 
fore are we ultramontanes ; therefore are we aggressive ; 
this is our conspiracy, that we have hearts to desire what 
we believe to be for the religious wellbeing of others, 
and heads to compass it. Two centuries ago, all Eng- 
land, you know, was in terror about some vast and 
mysterious Popish plot, which was to swallow up the 
whole population, without any one knowing how. 
What does the historian Hume — no Catholic, certainly, 
— say on the subject? "Such zeal of proselytism," 
he observes, " actuates that sect (meaning us) that its 
missionaries have penetrated into every nation of the 
globe ; and in one sense there is a Popish plot perpetu- 
ally carrying on against all states, Protestant, Pagan, 
and Mahometan."* The simple truth ! this is the un- 
varnished account of the matter : we do surpass in zeal 
every other Pel'igion, and have done so from the first. 
But this, surely, ought to be no ofience, but a praise : 
that Religion which inspires the most enthusiasm has a 
right to succeed. If to cherish zeal, if to deal the blows 
of reason and argument, if this be political, if this be 
disloyal, certainly we deserve worse punishment than 
the deportation suggested by one member of Parliament, 
and the £500 penalty proposed by another. 

Had indeed the ruling powers of the country, when 
coercion was in their power, refrained from coercion, 
and turned a host of controversialists in upon us in- 
stead ; had a gracious answer come from the Throne in 
return for the loyal address of the Protestant Bishops, 
commanding them to refute us, and never to enter the 

• Charles the Second, ch. 67. 

198 Logical Inconsistency of 

royal closet again without a tail of twenty converts 
apiece ; had a Parliamentary Committee been appointed 
to inquire into the best means of denying our facts, 
and unravelling our arguments ; had a reward of some 
£1000 been offered for our scientific demolition, in 
Bridgewater Treatise or Warburton Lecture, we should 
have felt gratitude towards those who had rather fail 
in their end than be ungenerous in their measures. 
But for years and years the case has been just the 
reverse; they have ever done us all the harm that they 
could, they have not done only what they could not. 
They have only made concessions under the influence 
of fear. Small thanks for scanty favours ; such thanks 
as Lazarus's for the rich man's crumbs which could not 
help falling from the table : it is no virtue to grant what 
you cannot deny. Now, what is the state of the case ? 
Protestant sects quarrel among themselves, they 
scramble for power, they inflict injuries on each other ; 
then at length they come to think it would be well to 
bear and forbear. They establish the great principle 
of toleration, not at all for our sakes, simply for the 
sake of each other, one and all devoutly wishing that 
they could tolerate each other without tolerating us. 
We, born Britons and members of the body politic as 
much as they, accidentally come under the shadow of a 
toleration which was meant for others. When they find 
that common sense and fairness are too strong for them, 
and that they cannot keep us out, and, moreover, that it 
is dangerous to do so, they make a merit of letting us in, 
and they wish us to be grateful for a privilege which 
is our birthright as much as it is theirs. 
I know well there is a rising feeling, there are emergent 

the Protestant View. 199 

parties In this country, far more generous and equitable, 
far more sensible, than to deserve these imputations ; 
but I am speaking all along of the dominant faction, 
and of the children of the Tradition. As for the latter, 
it will be long before they realise the fact that we are 
on a social equality with themselves, and that what is 
allowable in them is allowable in us. At present, it 
is a matter of surprise to them that we dare to speak 
a word in our defence, and that we are not content with 
the liberty of breathing, eating, moving about, and 
dying in a Protestant soil. That we should have an 
opinion, that we should take a line of our own, that we 
should dare to convince people, that we should move 
on the offensive, is intolerable presumption, and takes 
away their breath. They think themselves martyrs of 
patience if they can keep quiet in our presence, and 
condescending in the heroic degree, if they offer us any 
lofty civility. So was it the other day, when the late 
agitation began ; the hangers-on of Government said 
to us, " Cling tight to our coat-tails ; we are your best 
friends ; we shall let you off easy ; we shall only spit 
upon you ; but beware of those rabid Conservatives ; " 
and they marvelled that we did not feel it to be the 
highest preferment for the Catholic Church to wait in 
the ante-chambers of a political party. So it is with 
your Protestant controversialist, even when he shows 
to best advantage ; his great principle of disputation is 
that he is up, and the Catholic is down ; and his great 
duty is to show it. He is intensely conscious that he 
is in a very eligible situation, and his opponent in the 
gutter ; and he lectures down upon him, as if out of a 
drawing-room window. It is against his nature to be 

200 Logical Inconsistency of 

courteous to those for whom he feels so cordial a disdain, 
and he cannot forgive himself for stooping to annihi- 
late them. He mistakes sharpness for keenness, and 
haughtiness for strength ; and never shows so high 
and mighty in manner as when he means to be unut- 
terably conclusive. It is a standing rule with him to 
accuse his opponent of evasion and misstatement ; and, 
when in fault of an argument, he always can impugn 
his motives, or question the honesty of his professions. 
Such is the style of that writer to whom Cardinal Wise- 
man alludes in his late Appeal to the English people. The 
person I speak of is a gentleman and a scholar, nay, 
one of the most distinguished Protestant theologians of 
the day ; but that did not hinder him, on the occasion 
alluded to by the Cardinal, from strutting about with 
indignation that a Catholic should intrude himself into 
the quarrels of the Establishment, and from fancying 
that rudeness would be an indication of superiority. 
In his title-page he describes his pamphlet as "A 
letter to N. Wiseman, D.D., calling himself Bishop of 
Melipotamus ; " then he addresses him, not " Rev. Sir," 
but '' Sir," and talks of it being reported that he has 
" received the form of episcopal consecration at Rome," 
and tells him this is no excuse for his " acting in oppo- 
sition to his legitimate diocesan, the [Protestant] Bishop 
of Worcester." He proceeds to speak of Dr Wiseman's 
" characteristic sagacity," and of the " leaders of his 
party ; " reminds him that " in the eyes of his superiors 
the end sanctifies the means," and says that a mistake 
of fact, of which he accuses him, " appears to be not quite 
unintentional." He is ever upon stilts, and, as the 
pamphlet proceeds, there is an ever-thickening recur- 

the Protestant View. 201 

rence of such rhetoric as " Excuse me, Sir," and " Now, 
Sir," and " Such, Sir," and " But, Sir," and " Yes, Sir," 
and "No, Sir." I should not notice this pamphlet, 
which is of some years' standing, did I think the writer 
at all repented of its tone, and might not any day 
publish just such another. After all, it is but an instance 
in detail of the Protestant Tradition ; for such has been 
the received style of the Church of England ever since 
the days of such considerable men as Laud, Taylor, 
Stillingfleet, and Ussher. Moreover, it is emphatically 
the gentlemanlike manner of conducting the contro- 
versy with us, in contrast to that of the pulpit or the 
platform, where the speaker considers himself a sort of 
theological Van Amberg, scares us with his eye, and 
hits up to and fro with his cudgel. 


Now for another department ot this petty persecu- 
tion. That able writer, Dr Whately, whom I have 
already quoted in this Lecture, and whom, for the love 
I bear him, from old memories, in spite of our religious 
diiferences, I take pleasure in quoting, whenever I can 
do so with any momentary or partial agreement with 
him — the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin, I say, 
writing on the subject of persecution, is led to speak 
of insult and abuse, calumny, ridicule, and blasphemy, 
as directed by the professors of one religion against 
those of another ; and he uses the following remarkable 
words : — " Undoubtedly," he says, " they ought to 
enjoy this protection, not only of their persons and 
property, but of their comfort and feelings also. The 
State is both authorised and bound to prohibit and to 

202 Logical Inconsistency of 

guard against, by her own appropriate penalties, not 
only everything that may tend to a breach of the 
peace, but also everything that unnecessarily interferes 
with the comfort, and molests the feelings of any one. 
I say unnecessarily, because it may be painful indeed 
to a man's feelings to have his opinions controverted, 
and to be obliged to encounter opponents : but then, 
free discussion is necessary for the attainment and 
maintenance of truth. Not so with ridicule and insult: 
to forbid these can be no violation of religious liberty, 
since no man can be bound in conscience to employ 
such weapons : they have manifestly no tendency to 
advance the cause of truth ; they are, therefore, ana- 
logous to the slaughter of women and children, and 
other non-belligerents, which is regarded by all civilised 
nations as a violation of the laws of war ; these being 
unnecessary cruelties, since they have no direct ten- 
dency to bring the war to a conclusion." And then 
he goes on to say, " It is evident that all this reason- 
ing applies with equal force to the case of persons of 
every religious persuasion, whether Christians of various 
sects, or Jews, or Mahometans. All of these, though 
they must be prepared indeed to encounter fair argu- 
ment, should be protected, not only from persecution, 
but from insult, libel, and mockery, as occasioning a 
useless interruption of public or of domestic peace and 
comfort ; and this being an offence against society, may 
justly be prohibited and punished by human laws." * 

Here, you will observe, a writer, setting down his 
thoughts on persecution twenty-five years ago, when 

* Letters on the Church, p. 63. I am told (1872) the Archbishop 
never owned the authorship of this able volume. 

the Protestant View. 203 

the present state of the controversy was as yet in the 
womb of the future, distinctly tells us that insult, 
abuse, and mockery, are inconsistent with religious 
liberty, and that they should be prohibited by law, 
even as directed against Mahometans. Now I accept 
this sentiment, though I will not adopt it without an 
explanation. I consider, then, that in applying it to 
the existing state of things, we must distinguish 
between religious objects and rites, and the persons 
who acknowledge them. I cannot reprobate, in a free 
country like this, the ridicule of individuals, whoever 
they are ; and I thiuk it would be a very evil day when 
it was forbidden. From the Lord Chancellor and Prime 
Minister, to the ephemeral charlatan or quack, who 
astonishes the world with his impudence and absurdity, 
it is desirable that all should be exposed to the ridicule 
of any who choose to make them the objects of it. 
In no other way are various abuses, or encroachments, 
or nuisances, or follies, so easily and gently got rid of; 
it is a most healthy expression of public opinion ; it is 
a safety-valve for feelings, which, if not allowed so 
harmless an escape, might end in a serious explosion. 
Moreover, it is our boast among the nations, that, 
while elsewhere it is dangerous, with us it is positively 
healthy. In France or in Italy, I suppose, no Govern- 
ment could stand against public ridicule ; the Anglo- 
Saxon is good-natured in his satire ; and he likes his 
rulers not at all the worse, or rather the better, that 
he can distort them into attitudes, and dress them up 
in masquerade. And this permission must be suffered 
to extend to the case of persons who bear a religious 
profession, as well as that of others ; though in this 

204 Logical Inconsistency of 

case tlie line will sometimes be difficult to draw. It 
will be painful, indeed, to those who look up to them, 
to see one whom they revere, or who is associated with 
what is sacred in their minds, made the subject of 
insult and buffoonerj^, as it may be annoying to the 
private circle and painful to the relatives of a statesman 
or public man, who undergoes a similar ordeal ; but, 
as matters go in this country, there is no sufficient 
ground for prohibiting, nor much wisdom in complain- 
ing. But the case is very diiferent when the religious 
rite is insulted, and the individual for the sake of the 
rite. For example, were England a Catholic country, 
I can fancy a caricature of a fat monk or a fanatical 
pilgrim being quite unobjectionable ; it would argue 
no disrespect to the Religion itself, but would be merely 
a blow at an abuse of religion, in the instance of certain 
individuals who were no ornament to it ; on the other 
hand, in a Protestant land, it would or would not be 
an insult to Catholicism, according to the temper of 
the moment, and*the colouring and details of the satire. 
However, my business is not to draw the line between 
what is allowable and what is unfair as regards ridicule 
in matters of religion, but merely to direct your atten- 
tion to this point, that I have no wish, when it can be 
helped, to shelter the persons of religious men under 
the sacredness of the Religion itself. 

With this explanation, then, in favour of ridicule, 
I accept Dr Whately's doctrine as reasonable and true ; 
but consider, my Brothers, its application to ourselves. 
What a remarkable light does it cast on the relative 
position of Protestants and Catholics in England during 
the current year ! Our author tells us that insult and 

the Protestant View. 205 

mockery, in religious controversy, is as cowardly and 
cruel as the slaughter of women and children in war, 
and he presses on us the duty of the State to prohibit 
by penalties such interference with the comforts and 
feelings of individuals ; now, I repeat, what a remark- 
able illustration have Protestants supplied to this 
doctrine of a Protestant divine since Michaelmas last ! 
The special champions of toleration, the jealous foes of 
persecution, how studiously and conscientiously, during 
nine long months, have they practised what they 
preached ! What a bright example have they set to 
that religious communion which they hold in such 
abhorrence on the ground of its persecuting spirit ! Oh 
the one-sided intellect of Protestantism ! I appeal in 
evidence of it to a great banquet, where, amid great 
applause, the first judge of the land spoke of trampling 
Cardinal Wiseman's hat under his feet. I appeal to 
the last fifth of November, when jeers against the 
Blessed Sacrament and its rites were chalked up in 
the Metropolis with impunity, under the very shadow 
of the Court, and before the eyes of the Home Office 
and the Police. I appeal to the mock processions to 
ridicule, and bonfires to burn, what we hold most vener- 
able and sacred, not only Pope, and Cardinal, and 
Priest, but the very Mother of our Lord, and the Crucifix 
itself. I appeal to those ever-growing files of news- 
papers, whose daily task, in the tedious succession of 
months, has been to cater for the gross palate of their 
readers all varieties of disgusting gossip, and of bitter 
reproach, and of extravagant slander, and of aff'rontin^, 
taunting, sneering, irritating invective against us. I 
appeal to the buckram nuns of Warwickshire, Netting- 

2o6 Logical Inconsistency of 

ham, and Clapham, to the dungeons of Edgbaston, and 
the sin-tahle of St Gudule's. I appeal to the outrageous 
language perpetrated in a place I must not name, where 
one speaker went the length of saying, what the reporters 
suppressed for fear of consequences, that a dear friend 
and brother of mine, for whose purity and honour I 
would die, mentioning him by name, went about the 
country, as the words came to the ears of those present, 
seducing young women. I appeal to the weekly cari- 
catures, not of persons only and their doings, but of 
all that is held sacred in our doctrines and observances, 
of our rites and ceremonies, our saints and our relics, our 
sacred vestments and our rosaries. I appeal to a popu- 
lar publication, which, witty and amusing in its place, 
thought it well to leave its " sweetness " and its "fat- 
ness," to change make-belief for earnest, to become 
solemn and sour in its jests, and awkwardly to try its 
hand at divinity, because Catholics were the game. I 
appeal to the cowardly issue of a cowardly agitation, 
to the blows dealt in the streets of this very town upon 
the persons of the innocent, the tender, and the helpless ; 
— not to any insult or affliction which has come upon our- 
selves, for it is our portion, and we have no thought of 
complaining, — but to the ladies and the school-girls, 
who, at various times, up to the day I am recording it, 
because they are Catholics, have been the victims of 
these newspaper sarcasms, and these platform blas- 
phemies. I appeal to the stones striking sharply upon 
the one, and the teeth knocked out of the mouths of the 
other. Dr Whately's words have been almost pro- 
phetic ; mockery and insult have literally terminated 
in the bodily injury of those non-belligerents, who are 

the Protestant View. 207 

sacred by the laws of all civilised warfare. Such are 
some of the phenomena of a Religion which makes it its 
special boast to be the Prophet of Toleration. 


And in the midst of outrages such as these, my 
Brothers of the Oratory, wiping its mouth, and clasping 
its hands, and turning up its eyes, it trudges to the 
Town Hall to hear Dr Achilli expose the Inquisition. 
Ah ! Dr Achilli, I might have spoken of him last week, 
had time admitted of it. The Protestant world flocks 
to hear him, because he has something to tell of the 
Catholic Church. He has a something to tell, it is 
true ; he has a scandal to reveal, he has an argument 
to exhibit. It is a simple one, and a powerful one, as 
far as it goes — and it is one. That one argument is 
himself; it is his presence which is the triumph of 
Protestants ; it is the sight of him which is a Catholic's 
confusion. It is indeed our great confusion, that our 
Holy Mother could have had a priest like him. * He feels 
the force of the argument, and he shows himself to the 
multitude that is gazing on him. " Mothers of families," 
he seems to say, " gentle maidens, innocent children, 
look at me, for I am worth looking at. You do not see 
such a sight every day. Can any Church live over the 
imputation of such a birth as I am ? " f 

****** «« 

Yes, you are an incontrovertible proof that priests 
may fall and friars break their vows. You are your 

* Vide Dwblin Review for July 1850, and "Authentic Brief Sketch of 
the Life of Dr Giacinto Achilli." Richardsons. 

+ The paragraphs omitted are those which were decided by jury to 
constitute a libel, June 24, 1852. 

2o8 Logical Inconsistency of 

own witness ; but while you need not go out of yourself 
for your argument, neither are you able. With you 
the argument begins ; with you too it ends : the 
beginning and the ending, you are both. When you 
have shown yourself, you have done your worst and your 
all ; you are your best argument and your sole. Your 
witness against others is utterly invalidated by your 
witness against yourself. You leave your sting in 
the wound ; you cannot lay the golden eggs, for you 
are already dead. 

For how. Brothers of the Oratory, can we possibly 
believe a man like this, in what he says about persons, 
and facts, and conversations, and events, when he is of 
the stamp of Maria Monk, of Jeffreys, and of Teodore, 
and of others who have had their hour, and then been 
dropped by the indignation or the shame of mankind ? 
What call is there on Catholics to answer what has 
not yet been proved ? what need to answer the evidence 
of one who has not replied to the Police reports of 
Viterbo, Naples, and Corfu? He tells me that a 
Father Inquisitor said to him, " Another time," that 
you are " shut up in the Inquisition," " you " will not 
" get away so easily." * I do not believe it was said 
to him. He reports that a Cardinal said of him, " We 
must either make him a Bishop, or shut him up in the 
Inquisition." f I do not believe it. He bears witness, 
that " the General of the Dominicans, the oldest of 
the Inquisitors, exclaimed against him before the 
council, ' This heretic, we had better burn him alive.' " % 
I don't believe a word of it. " Give up the present 

* Dealings -with the Inquisition, p. 2. 

t Ibid. p. 27. X Ibid. p. 46. 

the Protestant View. 209 

Archbishop of Canterbury," says he, " amiable and 
pious as he is, to one of these rabid inquisitors ; he 
must either deny his faith, or be burned alive. Is my 
statement false ? Am I doting ? " * Not doting, but 
untrustworthy. " Suppose I were to be handed over to 
the tender mercy of this Cardinal [Wiseman] , and he 
had full power to dispose of me as he chose, without 
losing his character in the eyes of the nation, . . . - 
should I not have to undergo some death more terrible 
than ordinary ? " Dr Achilli does not dote ; they dote 
who trust him. 

Why do I so confidently assert that he is not to be 
believed ? — first, because his life for twenty years past 
creates no prepossession in favour of his veracity ; 
secondly, because during a part of that period, accord- 
ing to his own confession, he spoke and argued against 
doctrines, which at the very time he confessed to be 
maintained by the communion to which he belonged ; 
thirdly, because he has ventured to deny in the general, 
what official documents prove against him in the par- 
ticular; fourthly, because he is not simple and clear 
enough in his narrative of facts to inspire any confidence 
in him ; fifthly, because he abounds in misstatements 
and romance, as any one will see who knows anything 
of the matters he is writing about ; sixthly, because he 
runs counter to facts known and confessed by all. 

Indeed, I should not finish my Lecture to-night, my 
Brothers, if I went tlu-ough the series of historical facts 
which might be detailed in contradiction of the state- 

* Ibid. p. 75. 

2IO Logical Inconsistmcy of 

merits wliicli this autlior advances, and in proof of the 
utterly false view which Protestants take of the Inqui- 
sition, and of the Holy See in connection with it. I 
will set down a few. A recent Catholic controversialist, 
a Spanish writer of great name, Dr Balmez, goes so 
far as to say " that the Roman Inquisition has never 
heen known to pronounce the execution of capital 
punishment, although the Apostolic See has been 
occupied, during that time, by Popes of extreme rigour 
and severity in all that relates to the civil administra- 
tion." * — " We find," he continues, " in all parts of 
Europe scaffolds prepared to punish crimes against 
religion ; scenes which sadden the soul were everywhere 
witnessed. Rome is an exception to the rule ; — Rome, 
which it has been attempted to represent as a monster 
of intolerance and cruelty. . . . The Popes, armed 
with a tribunal of intolerance, have not spilt a drop of 
blood ; Protestants and philosophers have shed torrents." 
Moreover the Spanish Inquisition, against which, and 
not the Roman, it is more common to inveigh, though 
Dr Achilli writes about the Roman, the Spanish Inqui- 
sition, which really was bloody, is confessed by great 
Protestant authorities, such as Ranke, and Giiizot, to 
have been a political, not an ecclesiastical institution ; 
its officials, though ecclesiastics, were " appointed by 
the crown, responsible to the crown, and removable at 
its pleasure." f It had, indeed, been originally autho- 

* Balmez' Protestantism, transl., p. 166. — I am rather surprised that 
this is stated so unrestrictedly, vide Life of St. Philip Xeri, vol. i. ; how- 
ever, the fact is substantially as stated, even though there were some 
exceptions to the rule. 

+ \ide an able article in the Dublin Eeview, June 1850, — which is 
my authority for this and other facts. 

the Protestant View. 2 1 1 

rised by the Pope, who, at the instance of the civil 
power, granted it a bull of establishment ; but as soon 
as it began to act, its measures so deeply shocked him, 
that he immediately commenced a series of grave 
remonstrances against its proceedings, and bitterly 
complained that he had been deceived by the Spanish 
Government. The Protestant Ranke distinctly main- 
tains that it was even set up against the Pope and the 
Church. ^' As the jurisdiction of the Court," he says, 
" rested on the Royal Supremacy, so its exercise was 
made available for the maintenance of the Royal 
authority. It is one of those spoliations of the eccle- 
siastical power, by which this government rose into 
strength ; ... in its nature and its object, it was a 
purely political institute." Moreover, the Pope, anxious 
and displeased at what was going on, appointed a new 
functionary to reside on the spot, with the office of 
Judge of Appeals from the Inquisition, in favour of 
the condemned ; and when this expedient was evaded, 
he appointed special judges for particular cases ; and 
lastly, when the cruelty of the Spanish Government 
and its officials, lay and ecclesiastical, defeated this 
second attempt to ameliorate the evil, then he encou- 
raged the sufferers to flee to Rome, where he took them 
under his protection.* In this way it is recorded, that 
in one year he rescued 230 persons, and 200 in another. 
Sometimes he directly interfered in Spain itself; in the 
beginning of one year he liberated fifty heretics ; and 
fifty more a month or two later ; three further inter- 

* Gieseler says that * ' the Popes at first tried to draw some advantage 
from the new Institution by selling [ecclesiastical] absolution for the 
crime of ajjostasy." — Vol. iii. p. 335. It is easy to throw out such iu- 
siuuations as to objects and motives. 

212 Logical Inconsistency of 

positions of mercy are recorded within the year. 
Sometimes he set aside and annulled the judgments 
passed ; sometimes he managed to rescue the condemned 
from the infamy and civil consequences of the sentence ; 
sometimes he actually summoned, censured, and ex- 
communicated the Inquisitor; and often he took the 
part of the children of those whose property was forfeited 
to the crown. Moreover he refused to allow the Spanish 
Government to introduce their Inquisition into Naples, 
or the Milanese, which then belonged to Spain, from 
his disapprobation of its rigour. 

Such conduct as this is but in accordance with the 
historical character of the Holy See, in all times and 
in all countries. Doubtless in the long course of 
eighteen hundred years, there are events which need 
explanation, and which Catholics themselves might wish 
otherwise : but the general tenor and tendency of the 
traditions of the Papacy have been mercy and humanity. 
It has ever been less fierce than the nations, and in 
advance of the age : it has ever moderated, not only 
the ferocity of barbarians, but the fanaticism of Catholic 
populations. Let the accusations which can be made 
against it be put in form ; let the formal charges be 
proved : let the proved offences be counted up ; and 
then Protestants themselves will be able to determine 
what judgment is to be passed on the language in which 
they indulge themselves against it. " An actual hell," 
says their present oracle, Dr Achilli, " seems to be at 
the command of this Church, and it may be known by 
the name of the Inquisition. . . . The Inquisition is 
truly a hell, invented by priests. . . . Christianity 
sufiers more now than in former times under this harsh 

the Protestant View. 2 1 3 

slavery." * The Inquisition, it seems, is a hell ; then 
there are many other hells in the world present and 
past, and worse hells, though this is the only one of 
which Dr Achilli has had experience. He, indeed, 
may be excused for not knowing that, in his reprobation 
of the Inquisition, he is in fact virtually reflecting upon 
the nation, at whose good opinion he is aiming ; but 
Protestants, had they the caution of ordinary disputants, 
would have known better than to accept a field of con- 
troversy, far less dangerous to their enemy than to 
themselves. Judgment and justice, like charity, begin 
at home : and before they commiserate culprits two 
thousand miles away, they would do well to feel some 
shame at victims of their own making. They are 
shocked, forsooth, at religious ascendancy and religious 
coercion at Rome ; as if the ideas and the things were 
foreign to a British soil and a British policy. The 
name alone of the Inquisition, says Dr Achilli, " is 
sufficient to incite in the minds of all rational beings 
a sentiment of horror and repugnance, little inferior to 
what Christians experience with respect to hell itself." f 
A true word ! what is the Inquisition hut a name ? what 
is the Court of Queen's Bench but a name? why 
should not, in this matter, the names be interchanged? 
what has the Inquisition done at Rome, which the 
Royal name and authority has not done in England ? 
The question is, not what a tribunal is called, but what 
has been its work. Dr Achilli, it seems, has been 
imprisoned by the Inquisition, for preaching in Rome 
against the religion of Rome : and has no one ever 
been put in prison, or fined, or transported, or doomed 

* Inquisition, pp. 5, 11. + Ibid. p. 5. 

214 Logical Inconsistency of 

to death in England, for preaching against the religion 
of England ? Those adversaries, indeed, of Catholicism 
pleaded that Catholicism was rebellion : and has Dr 
Achilli had nothing to do with a party not only danger- 
ous, but actually and contemporaneously subversive of 
the Pontifical Grovernment ? It seems never to occur 
to a Protestant, that he must not do in his own case 
what he blames in another ; and should he at any time 
leave off a practice, he is surprised that every one else 
has not left it off at the same moment, and he has no 
mercy on any that has not ; — like converted prodigals, 
who are sternly unforgiving towards the vices they have 
only just abandoned themselves. 

It is in my own memor}'^, that a popular writer was 
convicted in the King's Bench, and sentenced to fine 
and imprisonment, for parodying passages of the An- 
glican Prayer Book. It is within my own memory, 
that an unbeliever in Christianity incurred a similar 
sentence, for exposing and selling his publications in 
a shop in Fleet Street. Why is Christianity to be 
protected by law, if Catholicism is not? What has 
the Inquisition done to Dr Achilli, which the King's 
Bench did not do, and more, to Hone and Carlyle? 
Why is that so shocking to-day, which came so natural 
to you thirty years ago ? Not many years have passed 
since Unitarian worship was a legal offence : the 
Unitarian creed was felony, and Unitarian congrega- 
tions incurred the penalty of transportation. " If the 
civil magistrate," says Dr Whately, " have no rightful 
jurisdiction whatever in religious concerns, it is quite 

the Protestant View. 2 1 5 

as raucTi an act of injustice, thougli of far less cruelty, 
to fine a Socinian, as to burn him." * Nor, indeed, was 
burning absent ; five men were burnt in Elizabeth's 
reign for denying the Holy Trinity, of whom the Pro- 
testant Bishop of Norwich burnt three. In the next 
reign, the Protestant Bishop of London burnt one, 
and the Protestant Bishop of Lichfield another. A 
third was sentenced, but the compassion of the people 
saved him. Catholics have fared even worse; they 
have not, indeed, been burned, but they have been 
tortured, hung, cut down alive, cut open alive, quartered, 
and boiled. Nay, it is only quite lately, that heavy 
penal inflictions have been taken off the daily acts of 
our religion. Many of us, my Brothers, as you know 
well, wear about us crosses, pictures, medals, beads, and 
.the like, blessed by the Pope ; they are still illegal ; an 
Agnus Dei is still illegal. Nay, five years have not fully 
passed, since the bringing them into the kingdom, and 
the giving them away, and the receiving and wearing 
them was punishable, by outlawry, forfeiture of all 
goods and chattels to the Queen, and imprisonment 
for life. Yet British Law is the wonder of the world, 
and Rome is Antichrist ! 

Nor has this prohibition been at all times an empty 
menace, as it is to-day : time was, when it was followed 
out into its extreme consequences. The possession of 
an Agnus Dei was the foremost charge in the indictment 
brought against the first of our martyrs among the 
Missionary Priests in the reign of bloody Elizabeth. 
" As soon as the Sheriff came into the chamber," say 
the Acts of the martyrdom of Cuthbert Maine, " he took 

* Letters on the Church, p. 42, 

2i6 Logical Inconsistency of 

Mr Maine by the bosom, and said to bim, What art 
thou ? he answered, I am a man. Whereat the Sheriff, 
being very hot, asked if he had a coat of mail under 
his doublet ; and so unbuttoned it, and found an Agnus 
Dei case about his neck, which he took from him, and 
called him traitor and rebel, with many other oppro- 
brious names." * Maine was hanged, cut down alive, 
falling from a great height, and then quartered. He 
was the first-fruit of a sanguinary persecution, which 
lasted a hundred years. John Wilson, while they tore 
out his heart said, " I forgive the Queen, and all that 
are the cause of my death." Edward Campion was 
cruelly torn and rent upon the rack divers times. 
" Before he went to the rack, he used to fall down at 
the rack-house door, upon both knees, to commend 
himself to Grod's mercy ; and upon the rack he called 
continually upon God, repeating often the holy name 
of Jesus. His keeper asking him the next day, how he 
felt his hands and feet, he answered, ' Not ill, because 
not at all.' He was hanged and embowelled at Tyburn. " 
Ralph Sherwin came next ; the hangman, taking hold 
of him with his bloody hands, which had been busy 
with the bowels of the martyred priest who preceded 
him, said to him, thinking to terrify him, " Come, 
Sherwin, take thou also thy wages." But the holy 
man, nothing dismayed, embraced him with a cheerful 
countenance, and reverently kissed the blood that 
stuck to his hands ; at which the people were much 
moved. He had been twice racked, and now he was 
dealt with as his brother before him. Thomas Sher- 
wood, after six months' inprisonment in a dark and 

* Challoner's Missionary Priests, 

the Protestant View. 2 1 7 

filthy hole, was hanged, cut down alive, dismembered, 
bowelled, and quartered. Alexander Brian had needles 
thrust under his nails, was torn upon the rack, hanged, 
and beheaded. George Haydock was suffered to hang 
but a very little while, when the Sheriff ordered the 
rope to be cut, and the whole butchery to be performed 
upon him while he was alive, and perfectly sensible. 
John Finch was dragged through the streets, his head 
beating all the way upon the stones ; was then thrust 
into a dark and fetid dungeon, with no bed but the 
damp floor; was fed sparingly, and on nothing but oxen's 
liver. Here he was left first for weeks, then for months ; 
till at length he was hanged, and his quarters sent to 
the four chief towns of Lancashire. Richard White, 
being cut down alive, pronounced the sacred name of 
Jesus twice, while the hangman had his hands in his 
bowels. James Claxton, was first put into little ease, 
that is, a place where he could neither stand, lie, nor 
sit; there he was for three days, fed on bread and 
water. Then he was put into the mill to grind ; then 
he was hanged up by the hands, till the blood sprang 
forth at his fingers' ends : at length he was hanged, 
dying at the age of twenty-one years. These are the 
acts, these are the scenes, which Protestants, stopping 
their ears, and raising their voices, and casting dust 
into the air, will not let us inflict upon them. No, it 
is pleasanter to declaim against persecution, and to 
call the Inquisition a hell, than to consider their own 
devices, and the work of their own hands. The cata- 
logue reaches to some hundred names. One was killed 
in this manner in 1577, two in 1578, four in 1581, 
eleven in 1582, thirteen in 1583 and 1584, nineteen in 

2 1 8 Logical Inconsistency of 

1585, and 1586, thirty-nine in 1587 and 1588, and so 
on at intervals to the end of the seventeenth century ; 
besides the imprisonments and transportations, which 
can hardly be numbered. "What will the Protestants 
bring against the Holy See comparable to atrocities 
such as these? not, surely, with any fairness, the 
burnings in Queen Mary's reign, the acts, as they were, 
of an English party, inflamed with revenge against their 
enemies, and opposed by Cardinal Pole, the Pope's 
Legate, as well as by the ecclesiastics of Spain. 

My time is run out. Brothers of the Oratory, before 
my subject is exhausted. One remark I will make in 
conclusion. The horrors I have been describing are no 
anomaly in the history of Protestantism. Whatever 
theoretical differences it has had on this subject with 
the Catholic Religion, it has, in matter of fact, ever 
shown itself a persecuting power. It has persecuted in 
England, in Scotland, in Ireland, in Holland, in France, 
in Germany, in Geneva. Calvin burnt a Socinian, 
Cranmer an Anabaptist, Luther advised the wholesale 
murder of the fanatical peasants, and Knox was party 
to bloody enactments and bloody deeds. You would 
think that with scandals such as these at their door, 
•Protestants would find it safest to let history alone, 
and not meddle with the question of persecution at all, 
from a lively consciousness of deeds identical with those 
which they impute to the Catholic Church. Not a bit 
of it. What then is their view of the matter ? Strange 
to say, they make it their plea of exculpation, and the 
actual difference between Catholics and them, that they 

the Protestant View. 2 1 9 

condemn persecution on principle ; in other words, they 
bring their own inconsistency as the excuse for their 
crime. Now I grant them, I am far from disputing it, 
that a man who holds a right principle, and occasionally, 
nay often, offends against it, is better than he who 
holds the opposite wrong principle, and acts consistently 
upon it ; but that is not the present case. The case 
before us is that of persons who never once have acted 
on the principle they profess — never once; for they 
cannot produce their instance, when Protestants, of 
whatever denomination, were in possession of national 
power for any sufficient time, without persecuting some 
or other of their polemical antagonists. So it has 
been, so it is now. Three centuries ago Protestantism 
in England set off on its course with murdering Catho- 
lic priests ; only a few months have passed since a 
clergyman of the Establishment gave out to his con- 
gregation that transportation was too good for us, and 
he thought we all ought to be put to death. So far 
from the Protestant party feeling any real shock at this 
avowal, a little while after, a second clergyman, as 
influential in Manchester as the first mentioned is in 
Liverpool, repeated the sentiment ; and still no shock 
or sensation in the Protestant public was the result. 
Doubtless they gave their reasons for wishing it, suffi- 
cient in their own judgment, and so too did the Pro- 
testant Elizabeth, so too did Gardiner and the other 
advisers of the Catholic Mary ; but still such was the 
upshot of their reasons, death to every Catholic priest. 
The present case then is not that of an individual, or a 
ruler, or a body politic laying down a good principle, 
and not being able at times and under circumstances, 

2 2 o L ogica I hiconsistency of 

throngli passion or policy, to act up to it ; no, it is tlie 
case of a religion saying one thing, and on every actual 
and possible occasion doing another. Can such a 
religion extenuate its acts on the ground of its profes- 
sions ? Yet this is the excuse, nay, this is the boast, the 
glory, of the Protestant party : — " We always do one 
thing, and we always say another ; we always preach 
peace, but we always make war ; we have the face of a 
lamb, and the claws of a dragon. And we have another 
boast ; to be sure, we persecute, but then, as a set off, 
you see, we always denounce in others what we are in 
the practice of doing ourselves ; this is our second great 
virtue. Observe, we, persecutors, protest against per- 
secution, — virtue one ; next, we, persecutors, blacken 
and curse the Papists for persecuting, — virtue two ; 
and now for a third virtue — why, we are so superla- 
tively one-sided, that we do not even see our own utter 
inconsistency in this matter, and we deny, that what is 
a stigma in their case is even a scandal in ours. We 
think that profession and denunciation make up a 
good Christian, and that we may persecute freely, if 
we do but largely quote Scripture against it." 

And now I might leave Protestants to explain this 
matter if they can, and to unravel the mystery how it 
is that, after all their solemn words against persecution, 
they have persecuted, as I have shown, whenever, where- 
ever, and however they could, from Elizabeth down to 
Victoria, from the domestic circle up to the Legislature, 
from black looks to the extremity of the gibbet and the 
stake ; I might leave them, but I am tempted to make 
them one parting suggestion. I observe, then, it is no 
accident that they unite in their history this abjuration 

the Protestant View. 2 2 1 

with this practice of religious coercion; the two go 
together. I say it boldly and decidedly, and do not 
flinch from the avowal — Protestants attempt too much, 
and they end in doing nothing. They go too far ; they 
attempt what is against nature, and therefore impos- 
sible. I am not proving this ; it is a separate subject ; 
it would require a treatise. I am only telling the Pro- 
testant world why it is they ever persecute, in spite of 
their professions. It is because their doctrine of private 
judgment, as they hold it, is extreme and unreal, and 
necessarily leads to excesses in the opposite direction. 
They are attempting to reverse nature, with no warrant 
for doing so ; and nature has its ample revenge upon 
them. They altogether ignore a principle which the 
Creator has put into our breasts, the duty of maintain- 
ing the truth ; and, in consequence, they deprive them- 
selves of the opportunity of controlling, restraining, 
and directing it. So was it with the actors in the first 
French Revolution : never were there such extravagant 
praises of the rights of reason ; never so signal, so 
horrible a profanation of them. They cried, ''Liberty, 
Equality, Fraternity," and then proceeded to massacre 
the priests, and to hurry the laity by thousands to the 
scaffold or the river-side. 

Far other is the conduct of the Church. Not to put 
the matter on higher and doctrinal grounds, it is plain, 
if only to prevent the occurrence of injustice and cruelty, 
she must — to use a phrase of the day — direct im- 
pulses, which it is impossible from the nature of man 
to destroy. And in the course of eighteen hundred 
years, though her children have been guilty of various 
excesses, though she herself is responsible for isolated 

222 Inconsistency of Protestant View. 

acts of most solemn import, yet for one deed of severity 
with which she can be charged, there have been a 
hundred of her acts, repressive of the persecutor and 
protective of his victims. She has been a never-fail- 
ing fount of humanity, equity, forbearance, and com- 
passion, in consequence of her very recognition 
of natural ideas and instincts, which Protestants 
would vainly ignore and contradict : and this is the 
solution of the paradox stated by the distinguished 
author I just now quoted, to the effect that the Religion 
which forbids private judgment in matters of Revela- 
tion, is historically more tolerant than the Religions 
which uphold it. His words will bear repetition : "We 
find, in all parts of Europe, scaffolds prepared to punish 
crimes against religion ; scenes which sadden the soul 
were everywhere witnessed. Rome is one exception to 
the rule ; Rome, which it has been attempted to repre- 
sent a monster of intolerance and cruelty. It is true, 
that the Popes have not preached, like the Protestants, 
universal toleration ; but the facts show the difference 
between the Protestants and the Popes. The Popes 
armed with a tribunal of intolerance, have scarce spilt 
a drop of blood ; Protestants and philosophers have 
shed it in torrents."* 

* Since this Lecture has been in type, I have been shown De Maistre's 
Letters on the Inquisition, and am pleased to see that in some places I 
have followed so great a writer. 



TN attributing the extreme aversion and contempt in 
which we Catholics are held by this great Protes- 
tant country, to the influence of falsehood and misre- 
presentation, energetic in its operation and unbounded 
in its extent, I believe in my heart I have referred it 
to a cause, which will be acknowledged to be both real 
and necessary by the majority of thoughtful and honest 
minds. Catholics or not, who set themselves to examine 
the state of the case. Take an educated man, who has 
seen the world, and interested himself in the religious 
bodies, disputes, and events of the day, let him be ever 
so ill-disposed towards the Catholic Church, yet I think, 
if he will but throw his mind upon the subject, and 
then candidly speak out, he will confess that the 
arguments which lead him to his present state of feel- 
ing about her, whatever they are, would not be sufficient 
for the multitude of men. The multitude, if it is to be 
arrested and moved, requires altogether a different 
polemic from that which is at the command of the man 
of letters, of thought, of feeling, afld of honour. His 
proofs against Catholicism, though he considers them 

2 24 Prejudice the Life of 

sufficient himself, and considers that they ought to be 
sufficient for the multitude, have a sobriety, a delicacy, 
an exactness, a nice adjustment of parts, a width and 
breadth, a philosophical cumulativeness, an indirectness 
and circuitousness, which will be lost on the generality of 
men. The problem is, how to make an impression on 
those who have never learned to exercise their minds, 
to compare thought with thought, to analyze an 
argument, or to balance probabilities. Catholicism 
appeals to the imagination, as a great fact, wherever 
she comes ; she strikes it ; Protestants must find some 
idea equally vivid as the Church, something fascinat- 
ing, something capable of possessing, engrossing, and 
overwhelming, if they are to battle with her hopefully : 
their cause is lost, unless they can do this. It was 
then a thought of genius, and, as I think, preternatural 
genius, to pitch upon the expedient which has been 
used against the Church from Christ's age to our own; 
to call her, as in the first century, Beelzebub, so in the 
sixteenth, Anti-Christ; it was a bold, politic, and 
successful move. It startled men who heard; and 
whereas Anti-Christ, by the very notion of his character, 
will counterfeit Christ, he will therefore be, so far, 
necessarily like Him ; and if Anti-Christ is like Christ, 
then Christ, I suppose, must be like Anti- Christ ; thus 
there was, even at first starting, a felicitous plausibility 
about the very charge, which went far towards securing 
belief, while it commanded attention. 

This, however, though much, was not enough ; the 
charge that Christ is Anti-Christ must not only be 
made, but must be sustained ; and sustained it could 
not possibly be, in the vastness and enormity of its 

the Protestant View. 225 

idea, as I have described it, by means of truth. False- 
hood then has ever been the indispensable condition of 
the impeachment which Protestants have made ; and 
the impeachment they make is the indispensable 
weapon wherewith to encounter the antagonist whom 
they combat. Thus you see that calumny and obloquy 
of every kind is, from the nature of the case, the portion 
of the Church, while she has enemies, that is, in other 
words, while she is militant, — her portion, that is, if 
she is to be argued with at all ; and argued with she 
must be, because man, from his very moral constitution, 
cannot content himself, in his warfare of whatever 
kind, with the mere use of brute force. The lion rends 
his prey, and gives no reason for doing so ; but man 
cannot persecute without assigning to himself a reason 
for his act : he must settle it with his conscience ; he 
must have sufficient reasons, and if good reasons are 
not forthcoming, there is no help for it ; he must put 
up with bad. How to conflict with the moral influence 
of the Church, being taken as the problem to be solved, 
nothing is left for him but to misstate and defame; there 
is no alternative. Tame facts, elaborate inductions, subtle 
presumptions, will not avail with the many ; something 
which will cut a dash, something gaudy and staring, 
something inflammatory, is the rhetoric in request ; he 
must make up his mind then to resign the populace 
to the action of the Catholic Church, or he must 
slander her to her greater confusion. This, I maintain, 
is the case; this, I consider, must be the case; — bad 
logic, false facts ; and I really do think that candid 
men, of whatever persuasion, though they will not 
express themselves exactly in the words I have used, 


2 26 Prejudice the Life of 

will agree with me in substance; will allow, that, 
putting aside the question whether Protestantism can 
be supported by any other method than controversy, 
for instance, by simple establishment, or by depriving 
Catholics of education, or by any other violent expedient, 
still, if popular controversy is to be used, then fable, 
not truth, calumny, not justice, will be its staple. 
Strip it of its fallacies and its fiction, and where are 
you ? It is no accident then that we are the victims 
of slander. 

So much in corroboration of what I have said in 
former Lectures; but I have not yet stated the full 
influence in the controversy, or (as it may be called) 
the full virtue, of this system of misrepresentation. 
The question may have occurred to you, my Brothers, as 
a philosophical difficulty, how it is that able, cultivated, 
enlarged minds should not only be the organs of the 
grossest slanders about us, but should refuse to retract 
them, when they have been absolutely silenced and 
exposed. The very courtesy of civilized life demands 
from them a retraction ; it is the rule among gentlemen 
that, even when an accuser adheres in his heart to what 
he has advanced against another, yet on that other's 
denying it, he accepts the denial and withdraws his 
words. It is otherwise in the contest with Catholics ; 
when we deny what is charged against our character 
or conduct, and deny it with irresistible arguments, we 
not only have reason to desiderate that outward con- 
sideration which the laws of society enforce, but probably 
are bluntly told that we lie, and there we are left, and 
the matter too. Doubtless this phenomenon is traceable 
in part to that characteristic of the human kind, noticed 

the Protestant View. 227 

by philosophers, to croucli to what is in the ascendant, 
and to insult what is down io the world ; but it partly 
arises from a cause to which I have not yet referred, 
and which I mean to make the subject of this Lecture. 
This cause is so obvious, that you may wonder I am 
so circuitous in introducing it, and why I have not 
treated of it before; but it properly comes in this 
place. I allude to the power of Prejudice^ which is to 
be reckoned a principal reason why our most trium- 
phant refutations of the facts and arguments urged 
against us by our enemies avail us so little ; for, in 
reality, those facts and arguments have already done 
their work, before their demolition arrives and in spite 
of their subsequent demolition, by impressing the 
minds of the persons who have heard and have used them 
with a prejudice against us. 


Now, first I must explain what Prejudice is, and how 
it is produced, before I go on to consider its operation. 
Prejudice, you know, means properly a pre-judgment, 
or judgment by anticipation; a judgment which is 
formed prior to the particular question submitted to us, 
yet is made to bear upon it. Thus, if a man is accused 
of theft, and I already believe him to be an habitual 
thief, I am naturally led to think that this particular 
charge is well-founded, before going into the evidence 
which is actually adducible for it. In this way, previous 
good or bad name has so much to do with the decisions 
in courts of justice; slight evidence will be enough to 
convict a reputed thief; on the other hand, a person 
under accusation, in order to repel it, brings witnesses 

228 Prejudice the Life of 

to his character. When we have this previous know- 
ledge of persons, we say, — when their actions or they 
themselves come under consideration, — on the one hand, 
that we cannot help being "prejudiced" against one, 
and on the other, "prejudiced" or "prepossessed" 
in favour of another. Now there is nothing unfair in 
all this ; what is past naturally hears on the future ; 
from what has been, we conjecture what will be ; it is 
reasonable and rational to do so ; and hence, persons 
who have all their lives long heard nothing but what is 
bad of Catholics, naturally and fairly entertain a bad 
opinion of them; and when a new charge is made 
against them, are disposed to credit it without stopping 
to consider the evidence. And it matters not, whether 
the previous judgment, which influences their belief, be 
a judgment of their own forming, or be inherited ; let 
it be the tradition of their country; still there is 
nothing strange, there is nothing wrong, in their being 
influenced by it. 

But then observe this ; — after all, a previous judg- 
ment, conclusion, or belief such as this, in which con- 
sists their prejudice, is but vague and general ; it is 
not more than an opinion or inference, of greater or 
less strength, as the case may be, and varying with the 
trustworthiness of the reasons or testimony which has 
created it. It cannot reasonably, and must not, be 
taken as infallible ; — did the persons in question so 
simply rest upon it, that they would not hear what 
could be said on the other side, as if they were quite 
sure nothing could be said to the purpose, they would 
cease to act rationally, they would be simply obstinate. 
And this is Prejudice in its bad and culpable sense. 

the Protestant View. 229 

the sense in wliicli tlie word is commonly used, and in 
which I am using it here, and am imputing it to Pro- 
testants. I accuse them of making too much of the 
Tradition which has come down to them ; they not 
only take it at first sight as true, and act upon it as 
true (a proceeding against which nothing can fairly be 
said), but they put such implicit confidence in it, that 
they cannot bring themselves to hear what can be said 
on the other side. They make the Tradition practically 
infallible, as if it had settled the view they are to take 
of the subject of it, once for all and for ever. 

How can any one, you will say, act so absurdly, who 
has any pretensions to good sense and good feeling ? 
yet it may happen in a measure to any one of us, and 
in the following way. Now I hope I shall not be taxing 
your attention, my Brothers, more than I have a right 
to do on an occasion such as this, in what I am going 
to say in explanation. Prejudice then is something 
more than an act of judgment ; it is not a mere act, it 
is a habit or state of mind. I must refer to a peculi- 
arity, not of the English character, but of our mental 
constitution generally. When, then, we hear a thing 
said again and again, it makes what may be called an 
impression upon us. We not only hold it in our mind 
as an opinion or belief, as separate from us, as de- 
pending on the information or grounds on which we 
have received it, and as admitting of being thrown off 
the next minute at our will, should we have reasons 
for discarding it, but it has acted upon our mind itself, 
it has sunk into it, it has impressed it. No longer at 
our disposal as before, to keep or throw away, it be- 
comes one of our habitual and invariable modes of 

230 Prejttdice the Life of 

judging and believing, something like the ideas we 
have of good and evil, and of religious duty. The 
idea, for instance, that justice is a virtue, or that there 
is a Divine Providence, is imprinted in our minds ; it 
is congenial to our nature, and it is true, and that, be- 
cause it is found in all times and places, with excep- 
tions too rare or inconsiderable to be worth noticing. 
Such an idea, I say, is true ; still there may also be 
impressions, similar in permanence, which yet are false 
and are uncongenial to our nature, and they are char- 
acterised, first, in not being common to all ; next, in 
not being found in the mind from the first (if I may so 
speak), in not coming thither no one knows how, 
that is, from heaven itself, but formed in us by the 
accidental occurrence of things which we have seen or 
heard, and another has not. These impressions are 
commonly created in the mind by the repetition of 
something striking it from without. A fact or argu- 
ment is not stronger in its own nature by being re- 
peated ; but the effect on any mind, which is passive 
under the infliction, is stronger and stronger every time 
it is repeated. In this way almost any idea whatever 
may be impressed on the mind ; a man will begin at 
length to think himself a fool or a knave, if every one 
tells him so. 

This then is what comes of the perpetual talk against 
Catholics. It does not become truer because it is inces- 
sant ; but it continually deepens the impression in the 
minds of those who hear it, that Catholicism is an impos- 
ture. I say, there is no increase of logical cogency ; a lie 
is a lie just as much the tenth time it is told as the first; 
or rather more, it is ten lies instead of one ; but it 

the Protestant View. 231 

gains in rhetorical influence. Let it be repeated again 
and again : it matters not ; tlie utterer has only to go 
on steadily proclaiming it, and first one, then another, 
will begin to believe it, and at length it will assume 
the shape of a very respectable fact or opinion, which 
is held by a considerable number of well-informed per- 
sons. This is what is meant by the proverb, " Fling 
dirt enough and some will stick." And if even one 
pertinacious slanderer has the prospect of such success 
in his slander, from this peculiarity of our nature, what 
must be the efifect when vast multitudes of men are 
incessantly crying out to each other, with unwearied 
and sleepless energy, fables and fallacies against the 
Catholic Religion ? Why, each is convincing the other, 
and deepening the hostile impression in his mind with 
a keenness and precision which it is appalling to con- 
template ; and thus the meetings and preachings which 
are ever going on against us on all sides, though they 
may have no argumentative force whatever, are still 
immense factories for the creation of prejudice, — an 
article, by means of these exertions, more carefully 
elaborated, and more lasting in its texture, than any 
specimens of hardware, or other material productions, 
which are the boast of a town such as this is. 

Now the peculiarity of these mental impressions is, 
that they do not depend afterwards upon the facts or 
reasonings by which they were produced, any more than 
a blow, when once given, has any continued connection 
with the stone or the stick which gave it. To burn the 
stick will not salve the sore : and to demolish the 
argument, as I have already said, does not obliterate 
the prejudice. Suppose I have been told that my 

232 Prejudice the Life of 

iieighbonr is a thief; suppose the idea has rested on 
my mind, and I have accustomed myself to it ; and 
suppose I hear what it was that made my informant 
assert it, and examine into this, and find it to he 
utterly untrue ; why I may indeed cast off my feeling 
against my neighbour at once and altogether, but I may 
have a great difficulty in doing so. The idea may still 
cling to me, and I may find it impossible, except by 
degrees, to overcome the associations with which he is 
connected in my mind, and the repugnance I feel to 
him ; there is something I have to struggle against. 
And thus, even though a slander be perfectly cleared 
up, even though it be brought into a court of justice, 
and formally disconnected from the person who has 
been the victim of it, he is not what he was. It was 
a saying of the greatest of the Romans, that " Cassar's 
wife should not be suspected." The slander has, as it 
were, stained the minds of the hearers, and only time, 
if even time, can wipe it out. This, then, is properly 
a prejudice, — net an opinion which is at our own dis- 
posal, and dependent for its presence or its dismissal 
on our will, but an impression, which reason indeed 
can act upon, and the will can subdue, but only by 
degrees and with trouble. It sank into the mind by 
the repetition of untrue representations, it must be 
effaced by an opposite process, by a succession of 
thoughts and deeds antagonist to it. We must make 
it up to the injured party by acts of kindness, by 
friendly services, by good words, by praising him, by 
the desire and attempt to please and honour him, and 
thus gradually we shall lose all recollection of our 
former hard thoughts of him. On the other hand, it 

the Protestant View. 233 

is quite possible to sliut ourselves up in ourselves ; to 
keep at a distance from him, and to cherish coldness 
or ill-will ; and then, in spite of the calumnies having 
been triumphantly refuted, and of our nominal acqui- 
escence, we shall be as suspicious or jealous as ever. 
We shall say that we are not, after all, satisfied ; that 
we cannot, indeed, give our grounds, but that things 
have a suspicious appearance ; and we shall look about 
diligently for some fresh ground of accusation against 
him, to justify us in such thoughts and such conduct. 

Now you may recollect. Brothers of the Oratory, that, 
in speaking of prejudice in its first and most simple 
sense, as a mere anticipation or previous opinion in 
disparagement of another, I said there was no harm in 
it. It is a mere judgment, formed on previous grounds, 
like any judgment, which the owner puts away at 
once, as soon as its unsoundness is detected. But pre- 
judice, in its second and ordinary sense, in which I 
have now for some time been using it — viz., as an im- 
pression or stain on the mind, is not at all innocent or 
excusable, just the reverse. This may surprise you ; 
you may say. How can a man help his impressions ? 
he is passive under them ; they come of themselves ; 
he is as little answerable for what is actually stamped 
upon his mind, as for a wound which is inflicted on his 
body : but this is very far from the case, as a little 
consideration will show. The will goes with a pre- 
judice ; there is no compulsion or necessity ; those who 
have prejudices are unwilling to give them up ; there 
is no prejudice without the will : we are prejudiced, I 
say, because we will ; and therefore, if we did not will, 
we should not be prejudiced. I do not say we could 

2 34 Prejudice the Life of 

get rid of the prejudice in a day by wishing to do so ; 
but we should, in that case, be tending to get rid of it. 
Scripture speaks of those who " loved darkness rather 
than the light ; " and it is impossible for us to deny, 
from what we see on all sides, that as regards the Pro- 
testant view of Catholics, men love to be left to their 
own dark thoughts of us ; they desire to be able with a 
good reason and a good conscience to hate us : they do 
not wish to be disabused, they are loth that so pleasant 
an error should be torn from them. First, then, I say, 
that prejudice depends on the will : now, secondly, if 
it does depend on the will, it is not, cannot be, inno- 
cent, because it is directed, not against things, but 
against persons, against God's rational creatures, 
against our fellows, towards all of whom we owe the 
duties of humanity and charity. There is a natural 
law, binding us to think as well as we can of every one ; 
we ought to be glad when imputations are removed, 
and scandals cleared up. And this law is observed by 
every generous mind : such a mind is pained to be- 
lieve that bad things can be said of others with any 
plausibility, and will rejoice to be able to deny them, 
will hope they are not true, and will give the subject 
of them the benefit of its doubts. Every hour, then, 
as it passes, bears with it protests against prejudice, 
when there is generosity, from the natural striving of 
the heart the other way. Jealousy, suspicion, dislike, 
thinking ill, are feelings so painful to the rightly dis- 
posed, that there is a constant reclamation going on 
within them, an uneasiness that they should be obliged 
to entertain them, and an effort to get rid of them. 
Nay, there are persons of such kind and tender hearts, 

the Protestant View. 235 

til at they would believe there is no evil at all in the 
world, if they could : and it is a relief to them when- 
ever they can knock off, so to say, any part of the 
score of accusations which the multitude of men bring 
against each other. On the other hand, to close the 
ears to an explanation, and to show a desire that the 
worst may be true, — unless indeed the innocence of 
the individual who at present lies under a cloud in- 
volves the guilt of a vast many others instead, so that 
one has to strike a balance of crimes, — I say, to re- 
solve that rumours or suspicions, for which no distinct 
grounds are alleged, shall be true, is simple male- 
volence, deplorable, shocking, inexcusable. 

I do not know how any one can deny the justice of 
these remarks ; but observe what a melancholy com- 
ment they form on the treatment which Catholics receive 
in this Protestant country. Where are the tender 
hearts, the kind feelings, the upright understandings 
of our countrymen and countrywomen ? where is the 
generosity of the Briton, of which from one's youth up 
one has been so proud ? where is his love of fair play, 
and his compassion for the weak, and his indignation 
at the oppressor, when we are concerned ? The most 
sensible people on the earth, the most sensitive of 
moral inconsistency, the most ambitious of propriety 
and good taste, would rather commit themselves in the 
eyes of the whole world, would rather involve them- 
selves in the most patent incongruities and absurdities, 
would rather make sport, as they do by their conduct, 
for their enemies in the four quarters of the earth, than 
be betrayed into any portion — I will not say of justice, 
I will not say of humanity and mercy, but of simple 

236 Prejudice the Life of 

reasonableness and common sense, in their behaviour 
to the professors of the Catholic Religion; so much so, 
that to state even drily and accurately what they do 
daily is to risk being blamed for ridicule and satire, 
which, if anywhere, would be simply gratuitous and 
officious in this matter, where truth most assuredly, 
"when unadorned," is "adorned the most." This 
risk, as far as I am incurring it myself in these Lec- 
tures, I cannot help ; I cannot help if, in exposing the 
prejudice of my countrymen, I incur the imputation of 
using satire against them ; I do not wish to do so ; and, 
observe, that nothing I have said, or shall say, is 
levelled at the matter or the rites of Protestant 
worship. I am concerned with Protestants themselves ; 
moreover not with Protestants quiescent and peaceable, 
but with Protestants malevolent, belligerent, busy, and 
zealous in an aggression upon our character and con- 
duct. We do not treat them with suspicion, contempt, 
and aversion : this is their treatment of us ; our only 
vengeance, surely it is not a great one, is to make a 
careful analysis of that treatment. 

The Prejudiced Man, then — for thus I shall personify 
that narrow, ungenerous spirit which energises and 
operates so widely and so unweariedly in the Protestant 
community — the Prejudiced Man takes it for granted, 
or feels an undoubting persuasion, — not only that he 
himself is in possession of divine truth, for this is a 
matter of opinion, and he has a right to his own, — but 
that we, who differ from him, are universally impostors, 
tyrants, hypocrites, cowards, and slaves. This is a first 
principle with him; it is like divine faith in the 

the Protestant View. 237 

Catholic, notliing can shake it. If he meets with any 
story against Catholics, on any or no authority, which 
does but fall in with this notion of them, he eagerly 
catches at it. Authority goes for nothing ; likelihood, 
as he considers it, does instead of testimony ; what he 
is now told is just what he expected. Perhaps it is a 
random report, put into circulation merely because it 
had a chance of succeeding, or thrown like a straw to 
the wind ; perhaps it is a mere publisher's speculation, 
who thinks that a narrative of horrors will pay well for 
the printing : it matters not, he is perfectly convinced 
of its truth ; he knew all about it beforehand ; it is just 
what he always has said ; it is the old tale over again 
a hundred times. Accordingly he buys it by the 
thousand, and sends it about with all speed in every 
direction, to his circle of friends and acquaintance, to 
the newspapers, to the great speakers at public meet- 
ings ; he fills the Sunday and week-day schools with it ; 
loads the pedlars' baskets, perhaps introduces it into 
the family spiritual reading on Sunday evenings, con- 
soled and comforted with the reflection that he has got 
something fresh and strong and undeniable, in evidence 
of the utter odiousness of the Catholic Religion. 

Next comes an absolute, explicit, total denial or refu- 
tation of the precious calumny, whatever it may be, on 
unimpeachable authority. The Prejudiced Man simply 
discredits this denial, and puts it aside, not receiving 
any impression from it at all, or paying it the slightest 
attention. This, if he can : if he cannot, if it is urged 
upon him by some friend, or brought up against him 
by some opponent, he draws himself up, looks sternly 
at the objector, and then says the very same thing 

238 Prejudice the Life of 

as before, only with a louder voice and more confident 
manner. He becomes more intensely and enthusi- 
astically positive, by way of mating up for the inter- 
ruption, of braving the confutation, and of showing the 
world that nothing whatever in the universe will ever 
make him think one hair-breadth more favourably of 
Popery than he does think, than he ever has thought, 
and than his family ever thought before him, since the 
time of the fine old English gentleman. 

If a person ventures to ask the Prejudiced Man what 
he knows of Catholics personally — what he knows of 
individuals, of their ways, of their books, or of their 
worship, he blesses himself that he knows nothing of 
them at all, and he never will ; nay, if they fall in his 
way, he will take himself out of it ; and if unawares 
he shall ever be pleased with a Catholic without know- 
ing who it is, he wishes by anticipation to retract such 
feeling of pleasure. About our state of mind, our views of 
things, our ends and objects, our doctrines, our defence 
of them, our judgment on his objections to them, our 
thoughts about him, he absolutely refuses to be en- 
lightened : and he is as sore if expostulated with on so 
evident an infirmity of mind, as if it were some painful 
wound upon him, or local inflammation, which must not 
be handled ever so tenderly. He shrinks from the 

However, one caniiot always make the whole world 
take one's own way of thinking ; so let us suppose the 
famous story, to which the Prejudiced Man has pledged 
his veracity, utterly discredited and scattered to the 
winds by the common consent of mankind : — this only 
makes him the more violent. For it ougJit, he thinks, to 

the Protestant View. 239 

"be true, and it is mere special pleading to lay much 
stress on its not having all the evidence which it might 
have ; for if it be not true, yet half a hundred like 
stories are. It is only impertinent to ask for evidence, 
when the fact has so often been established. What is 
the good of laboriously vindicating St Eligius, or ex- 
posing a leading article in a newspaper, or a speaker at 
a meeting, or a popular publication, when the thing is 
notorious ; and to deny it is nothing else than a vex- 
atious demand upon his time, and an insult to his 
common sense. He feels the same sort of indignation 
which the Philistine champion, Goliath, might have 
felt when David went out to fight with him, " Am I a 
dos:, that thou comest to me with a staif? and the 
Philistine cursed him by his gods." And, as the huge 
giant, had he first been hit, not in the brain, but in 
the foot or the shoulder, would have yelled, not with 
pain, but with fury at the insult, and would not have 
been frightened at all or put upon the defensive, so our 
Prejudiced Man is but enraged so much the more, and 
almost put beside himself, by the presumption of those 
who, with their doubts or their objections, interfere 
with the great Protestant Tradition about the Catholic 
Church. To bring proof against us is, he thinks, but a 
matter of time ; and we know in affairs of every-day, 
how annoyed and impatient we are likely to become, 
when obstacles are put in our way in any such case. 
We are angered at delays when they are but accidental, 
and the issue is certain ; we are not angered, but we 
are sobered, we become careful and attentive to impedi- 
ments, when there is a doubt about the issue. The 
very same diflSculties put us on our metal in the one 

240 Prejudice the Life of 

case, and do but irritate us in the other. If, for in- 
stance, a person cannot open a door, or get a key into 
a lock, which he has done a hundred times before, you 
know how apt he is to shake, and to rattle, and to force 
it, as if some great insult was offered him by its re- 
sistance : you know how surprised a wasp, or other 
large insect is, that he cannot get through a window- 
pane ; such is the feeling of the Prejudiced Man when 
we urge our objections — not softened by them at all, 
but exasperated the more ; for what is the use of even 
inconvertible arguments against a conclusion which he 
already considers to be infallible ? 

This, you see, is the reason why the most over- 
whelming refutations of the calumnies brought against 
us do us no good at all with the Protestant community. 
We were tempted, perhaps, to say to ourselves, " What 
mill they have to say in answer to this ? now at last 
the falsehood is put down for ever, it will never show 
its face again ? " Vain hope ! just the reverse : like 
Milton's day-star, after sinking into the ocean, it soon 
*' repairs its drooping head," 

" And tricks its beams, and with new-spangled ore 
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky.'' 

Certainly; for it is rooted in the mind itself; it has no 
uncertain holding upon things external; it does not 
depend on the accident of time, or place, or testi- 
mony, or sense, or possibility, or fact ; it depends on 
the will alone. Therefore, " unhurt amid the war of 
elements," it " smiles" at injury, and " defies" defeat; 
for it is safe and secure, while it has the man's own 
will on its side. Such is the virtue of prejudice — it is 
ever reproductive ; in vain is Jeffreys exposed ; he rises 

the Protestant View. 241 

again in Teodore ; Teodore is put down ; in vain, for 
future story-tellers and wonder-mongers, as yet un- 
known to fame, are below the horizon, and will come 
to view, and will unfold their tale of horror, each in 
his day, in long succession ; for these whispers, and 
voices, and echoes, and reverberations, are but the re- 
sponse, and, as it were, the expression of that profound 
inward persuasion, and that intense illusion, which 
wraps the soul and steeps the imagination of the 
Prejudiced Man. 

However, we will suppose him in a specially good 
humour, when you set about undeceiving him on some 
point on which he misstates the Catholic faith. He is 
determined to be candour and fairness itself, and to do 
full justice to your argument. So you begin your 
explanation ; — you assure him he misconceives your 
doctrines ; he has got a wrong view of facts. You 
appeal to original authorities, and show him how 
shamefully they have been misquoted ; you appeal to 
history, and prove it has been garbled. Nothing is 
wanting to your representation ; it is triumphant. He 
is silent for a moment, then he begins with a senti- 
ment. " What clever fellows these Catholics are ! " f 
he says, " I defy you to catch them tripping ; they : 
have a way out of everything. I thought we had you, 
but I fairly own I am beaten. This is how the Jesuits ; 
get on ; always educated, subtle, well up in their books ; 
a Protestant has no chance with them." You see, my j 
Brothers, you have not advanced a step in convincing 

Such is the Prejudiced Man at best advantage ; but 
commonly under the same circumstances he will be 


242 Prejudice the Life of 

grave and suspicious. '' I confess," he will say, " I 
do not like these very complete explanations ; they are 
too like a made-up case. I can easily believe there 
was exaggeration in the charge ; perhaps money was 
only sometimes taken for the permission to sin, or only 
before the Reformation, but our friend professes to 
prove it was never taken : this is proving too much. 
I always suspect something behind, when everything is 
so very easy and clear." Or again, " We see before 
our eyes a tremendous growth of Popery ; how does it 
grow ? You tell me you are poor, your priests few, 
your friends without influence ; then how does it grow ? 
It could not grow without means I it is bad enough if 
you can assign a cause; it is worse if you cannot. 
Cause there must be somewhere, for effects imply causes. 
How did it get into Oxford ? tell me that. How has it 
got among the Protestant clergy? I like all things 
above board ; I hate concealment, I detest plots. There 
is evidently something to be accounted for ; and the 
more cogently you prove that it is not referable to any- 
thing which we see, the graver suspicions do you awaken, 
that" it is traceable to something which is hidden." 
Thus our Prejudiced Man simply ignores the possible 
existence of that special cause to which Catholics of 
course refer the growth of Catholicism, and which 
surely, if admitted, is sufficient to account for it — viz., 
that it is true. He will not admit the power of 
truth among the assignable conjectural causes. He 
would rather, I am sure, assign it to the agency 
of evil spirits, than suspect the possibility of a 
religion being true which he wills should be a false- 

the Protestant View. 243 


One word here as to this growth of Catholicism, of 
conversions, and converts ; — the Prejudiced Man has his 
own view of it all. First, he denies that there are any 
conversions or converts at all. This is a bold game, and 
will not succeed in England, though I have been told 
that in Ireland it has been strenuously maintained. 
However, let him grant the fact, that converts there 
are, and he has a second ground to fall back upon : the 
converts are weak and foolish persons, — notoriously so ; 
all their friends think so ; there is not a man of any 
strength of character or force of intellect among them. 
They have either been dreaming over their folios, or 
have been caught with the tinsel embellishments of 
Popish worship. They are lack-a-daisical women, or 
conceited young parsons, or silly squires, or the very 
dregs of our large towns, who have nothing to lose, 
and no means of knowing one thing from another. 
Thirdly, in corroboration : — they went over, he says, on 
such exceedingly wrong motives ; not any one of them 
but you may trace his conversion to something' dis- 
tinctly wrong ; it was love of notoriety, it was restless- 
ness, it was resentment, it was lightness of mind, it 
was self-will. There was trickery in his mode of taking 
the step, or inconsiderateness towards the feelings of 
others. They went too soon, or they ought to have 
gone sooner. They ought to have told every one their 
doubts as soon as ever they felt them, and before they 
knew whether or not they should overcome them or no : 
if they had clerical charges in the Protestant Church, 
they ought to have flung them up at once, even at the 

244 Prejudice the Life of 

risk of afterwards finding they had made a commotion 
for nothing. Or, on the other hand, what, forsooth, 
must these men do when a doubt came on their mind, 
but at once abandon all their clerical duty and go to 
Rome, as if it were possible anywhere to be absolutely 
certain ? In short, they did not become Catholics at the 
right moment ; so that, however numerous they may 
be, no weight whatever attaches to their conversion. As 
for him, it does not afiect him at all ; he means to die 
just where he is ; indeed, these conversions are a posi- 
tive argument in favour of Protestantism ; he thinks 
still worse of Popery, in consequence of these men 
going over, than he did before. His fourth remark is 
of this sort : — they are sure to come back. He prophe- 
sies that by this time next year, not one of them will 
be a Catholic. His fifth is as bold as the first : — they 
have come back. This argument, however, of the Pre- 
judiced Man admits at times of being shown to great 
advantage, should it so happen that the subjects of his 
remarks have, for some reason or other, gone abroad, 
for then there is nothing to restrain his imagination. 
Hence, directly a new Catholic is safely lodged two or 
three thousand miles away, out comes the confident 
news that he has returned to Protestantism ; when no 
friend has the means to refute it. When this argu- 
ment fails, as fail it must, by the time a letter can be 
answered, our Prejudiced Man falls back on his sixth 
commonplace, which is to the efiect that the converts 
are very unhappy. He knows this on the first authority ; 
he has seen letters declaring or showing it. They are 
quite altered men, very much disappointed with Catho- 
licism, restless, and desirous to come back except from 

the Protestant View. 245 

false shame. Seventlily, they are altogether deterior- 
ated in character; they have become harsh, or over- 
bearing, or conceited, or vulgar. They speak with 
extreme bitterness against Protestantism, have cast 
off then- late friends, or seem to forget that they ever 
were Protestants themselves. Eighthly, they have 
become infidels ; — alas ! heedless of false witness, the 
Prejudiced Man spreads the news about, right and left, 
in a tone of great concern and distress ; he considers it 
very awful. 

Lastly, when every resource has failed, and in spite 
of all that can be said, and surmised, and expressed, 
and hoped, about the persons in question. Catholics 
they have become, and Catholics they remain, the Pre- 
judiced Man has a last resource , he simply forgets 
that Protestants they ever were. They cease to have 
antecedents ; they cease to have any character, any 
history to which they may appeal : they merge in the 
great fog, in which to his eyes everything Catholic is 
enveloped : they are dwellers in the land of romance 
and fable ; and, if he dimly contemplates them plung- 
ing and floundering amid the gloom, it is as griffins, 
wiverns, salamanders, the spawn of Popery, such as are 
said to sport in the depths of the sea, or to range amid 
the central sands of Africa. He forgets he ever heard 
of them ; he has no duties to their names, he is released 
from all anxiety about them ; they die to him. 

Now, my Brothers, unless I should be obliged to 
allude to myself, I could, without bringing in other in- 
stances, show you, from my own experience, that there 
is no exaggeration in what I have been saying. I will 
go so far as to mention four facts about me, as they have 

246 Prejudice the Life of 

been commonly reported. First, when I became a 
Catholic, grave persons, Protestant clergymen, attested 
(what they said was well known to others besides them- 
selves) that either I was mad, or was in the most im- 
minent danger of madness. They put it into the news- 
papers, and people were sometimes quite afraid to come 
and see me. Next, they put about, what they had pro- 
phesied beforehand as certain to be, that I had already the 
gravest differences with one from whom I had received 
nothing but kindness, and whom I regarded, and still 
regard, with no other feelings than those of gratitude 
and affection. Cardinal Wiseman. They had predicted 
it, and therefore so it must be, whether there was evi- 
dence of it or not. I will quote to you the words of an 
eminent pulpit and platform clergyman, one of those two 
eloquent defenders of Protestantism, who lately gave 
out that every Catholic Priest ought to be hanged. 
" He believed," said the Manchester Courier^ reporting 
his speech, " that already some of those reverend 
gentlemen, who had betaken themselves to Rome, 
under the idea that they were going to a scene of 
beauty and piety, had found that dark was the place 
behind the scenes that they had painted as so beautiful. 
So he believed it was with Mr Newman. (Hear, hear.) 
He (the speaker) was told that Mr Newman had a most 
sovereign contempt for Dr Wiseman ; and he was told 
that Dr Wiseman had the utmost hatred for Mr New- 
man. And he believed that result was brought about 
from Mr Newman having seen Dr Wiseman more 
closely, and Dr Wiseman having found out that Mr 
Newman saw through the mask, and discerned him as 
he was." You see " the wish was father to the thought." 

the Protestant View. 247 

Thirdly, when I went to Rome, then at once a long 
succession of reports went about, to the effect that I had 
quarrelled with the ecclesiastical authorities there, and 
had refused to be ordained on their conditions ; more- 
over, that I was on the point of turning Protestant, 
and that my friends about me had done so already. 
The list of good stories had not run out by the time I 
came back ; they were too precious to be lost, any one 
of them; so it was circulated, when I came here to 
Birmingham, that I was suspended by the present 
Bishop of the diocese, and not allowed to preach. 
Fourthly and lastly, it has lately been put into the 
papers, under the sanction of respectable names, that I 
am not a believer in the Catholic doctrines ; and broader 
still in private letters, that I have given up Revealed 
Religion altogether. I mention these instances, not for 
their own sake, but to illustrate the power of prejudice. 
Men are determined they will not believe that an edu- 
cated Protestant can find peace and satisfaction in the 
Catholic Church; and they invent catastrophes for the 
occasion, which they think too certain to need testi- 
mony or proof. In the reports I have been setting 
down, there was not even a rag or a shred of evidence 
to give plausibility to them. 

I have been setting forth as yet the resources of the 
Prejudiced Man, when he has no facts whatever on his 
side, but all against him ; but now let us suppose he 
has something or other to show ; in that case it is plain 
that he finds it very much easier to maintain his posi- 
tion. If he could do so much with no materials at all, 
to what will he be unequal when he has really some- 
thing or other, external and objective, to bring forward 

248 Prejudice the Life of 

in his justification ? " Trifles light as air," says the 

*' Are to the jealous confirmation strong 
As proofs of Holy Writ." 

You may be sure he makes the most of them. A vast 
number of matters, we easily may understand, are of 
daily occurrence, which admit of an interpretation this 
way or that, and which are, in fact, interpreted by every 
one according to his own existing opinions. Rival 
philosophers seize on new discoveries, each as being in 
favour of his own hypothesis ; it is not indeed, many 
instances which are critical and decisive. Are we told 
of some strange appearance at night in some solitary 
place ? Those who are fond of the marvellous, think 
it an apparition ; those who live in the rational and 
tangible, decide that it has been some gleam of the 
moonbeam, or some wayfarer or beggar, or some trick 
intended to frighten the passer-by. Thus history also 
reads in one way to one, in another to another. There 
are those who think the French at the bottom of all 
the mischief which happens in England and Ireland; 
others lay it to the Russians. Our Prejudiced Man of 
course sees Catholics and Jesuits in everything, in 
every failure of the potato crop, every strike of the 
operatives, and every mercantile stoppage. His one 
idea of the Catholic Church haunts him incessantly, 
and he sees whole Popery, living and embodied, in 
every one of its professors, nay, in every word, gesture, 
and motion of each. A Catholic Priest cannot be grave 
or gay, silent or talkative, without giving matter of 
offence or suspicion. There is peril in his frown, there 

the Protestant View. 249 

is greater peril in his smile. His lialf sentences are 
filled up; his isolated acts are misdirected; nay, 
whether he eats or sleeps, in every mouthful and every 
nod he ever has in view one and one only object, the 
affcrrandisement of the unwearied, relentless foe of 
freedom and of progress, the Catholic Church. The 
Prejudiced Man applauds himself for his sagacity, in 
seeing evidences of a plot at every turn ; he groans 
to think that so many sensible men should doubt its 
extension all through Europe, though he begins to 
entertain the hope that the fact is breaking on the 
apprehension of the Government. 


The Prejudiced Man travels, and then everything he 
sees in Catholic countries only serves to make him 
more thankful that his notions are so true ; and the 
more he sees of Popery, the more abominable he feels 
it to be. If there is any sin, any evil in a foreign 
population, though it be found among Protestants also, 
still Popery is clearly the cause of it. If great cities 
are the schools of vice, it is owing to Popery. If Sun- 
day is profaned, if there is a Carnival, it is the fault of 
the Catholic Church. Then, there are no private homes, 
as in England, families live on staircases ; see what it 
is to belong to a Popish country. Why do the Roman 
labourers wheel their barrows so slow on the Forum ? 
why do the Lazzaroni of Naples lie so listlessly on the 
beach ? why, but because they are under the malaria of 
a false religion. Rage, as is well-known, is in the 
Roman like a falling sickness, almost as if his will had 
no part in it, and he had no responsibility ; see what it 

250 Prejudice the Life of 

is to be a Papist. Bloodletting is as frequent and as 
nauch a matter of course in the South, as hair-cutting 
in England ; it is a trick borrowed from the convents, 
when they wish to tame down refractory spirits. 

The Prejudiced Man gets up at an English hour, has 
his breakfast at his leisure, and then saunters into some 
of the churches of the place ; he is scandalised to have 
proof of M'hat he has so often heard, the infrequency of 
communions among Catholics. Again and again, in 
the course of his tour, has he entered them, and never 
by any chance did he see a solitary communicant : — 
hundreds, perhaps, having communicated in those very 
churches, according to their custom, before he was out of 
his bedroom. But what scandalises him most, is, that 
even bishops and priests, nay, the Pope himself, does not 
communicate at the great festivals of the Church. He 
was at a great ceremonial, a High Mass, on Lady Day, 
at the Minerva ; not one Cardinal communicated ; — 
Pope and Cardinals, and every Priest present but the 
celebrant, having communicated, of course, each in his 
own Mass, and in his own chapel or church, early in 
the morning. Then the churches are so dirty ; faded 
splendour, tawdriness, squalidness are the fashion of 
the day ; — thanks to the Protestants and Infidels who, 
in almost every country where Catholicism is found, 
have stolen the revenues by which they were kept 
decent. He walks about and looks at the monuments, 
what is this ? the figure of a woman : who can it be ? 
His Protestant cicerone at his elbow, who perhaps has 
been chosen by his good father or guardian to protect 
him on his travels from a Catholic taint, whispers that 
it is Pope Joan, and he notes it down in his pocket-book 

the Protestant View, 251 

accordingly. I am alluding to an accident, which in 
its substance befell a most excellent person, for whom I 
had and have a great esteem, whom I am sure I would 
not willingly offend, and who will not be hurt at this 
cursory mention of an unintentional mistake. He was 
positive he had seen Pope Joan in Rome, — I think, in 
St Peter's ; nay, he saw the inscription on the monu- 
ment, beginning with the words, " Joannes Papissee." 
It was so remarkable a fact, and formed so plausible an 
argument against the inviolateness of the chair of St 
Peter, that it was thought worth inquiring into. I do 
not remember who it was that the female, thus elevated 
by his imagination, turned into in the process of investi- 
gation, whether into the Countess Matilda, or Queen 
Christina, or the figure of Religion in the vestibule of 
St Peter's ; but certainly into no lady who had any 
claims on the occupation of the Ecumenical See. 

This puts me in mind of another occurrence, of which 
the publications of the day have recently been full. A 
lady of high literary reputation deposed that Denon 
and other French savans had given her the information 
that, in the days of the Republic or Consulate, they had 
examined St Peter's chair in the Vatican Basilica, and 
had found that it unquestionably had come from the 
East, long after the age of the Apostle, for it had in- 
scribed upon it the celebrated confession of Islamism, 
" There is one God, and Mahomet is his prophet." 
Her prejudices sharpened her memory, and she was 
positive in her testimony. Inquiry was made, and it 
turned out that the chair of which she had spoken was 
at Venice, not at Rome ; that it had been brought 
thither by the Crusaders from the East, and therefore 

252 Prejudice the Life of 

might well bear upon it tlie Mahometan inscription ; 
and that tradition gave it the reputation of being, by- 
no means the Roman, but the Antiochene Chair of the 
Apostle. In this, as in other mistakes, there was no 
deliberate intention to deceive; it was an ordinary 
result of an ordinary degree of prejudice. The voucher 
of the story was so firmly convinced, I suppose, of the 
" childish absurdity and falsehood of all the traditions 
of the Romish Church," that she thought it unneces- 
sary to take pains to be very accurate, whether in her 
hearing or her memory. 

Our Prejudiced Man might travel half his life up 
and down Catholic Europe, and only be confirmed in 
his contempt and hatred of its religion. In every 
place there are many worlds, quite distinct from each 
other : there are good men and bad, and the good 
form one body, the bad another. Two young men, 
as is well known, may pass through their course at a 
Protestant University, and come away with opposite 
reports of the state of the place : the one will have seen 
all the bad, the other all the good ; one will say it is 
a sober, well-conducted place, the other will maintain 
that it is the home of every vice. The Prejudiced Man 
takes care to mix only in such society as will confirm 
his views ; he courts the society of Protestants and 
unbelievers, and of bad Catholics, who shelter their 
own vice under the imputations they cast on others, 
and whose lives are a disgrace to the Church prior to 
their testimony. His servants, couriers, laquais de 
place, and acquaintance, are all of his own way of 
thinking, and find it for their interest to flatter and 
confirm it. He carries England with him abroad ; and 

the Protestant View. 253 

thougli he has ascended mountains and traversed cities, 
knows scarcely more of Europe than when he set 

But perhaps he does not leave England at all ; he 
never has been abroad ; it is all the same ; he can 
scrape together quite as good evidence against Catho- 
licism at home. One day he pays a visit to some 
Catholic chapel, or he casually finds the door open, 
and walks in. He enters and gazes about him, with a 
mixed feeling of wonder, expectation, and disgust ; and 
according to circumstances, this or that feeling pre- 
dominates, and shows itself in his bearing and his 
countenance. In one man it is curiosity ; in another, 
scorn ; in another, conscious superiority ; in another, 
abhorrence ; over all of their faces, however, there is a 
sort of uncomfortable feeling, as if they were in the 
cave of Trophonius or in a Mesmerist's lecture-room. 
One and all seem to believe that something strange 
and dreadful may happen any moment ; and they crowd 
up together, if some great ceremony is going on, tip- 
toeing and staring, and making strange faces, like the 
gargoyles or screen ornaments of the church itself. 
Every sound of the bell, every movement of the candles, 
every change in the grouping of the sacred ministers 
and the assistants, puts their hands and limbs in 
motion, to see what is coming next ; our own poor 
alleviation, in thinking of them, lying in this, — that 
they are really ignorant of what is going on, and miss, 
even with their bodily eyes, the distinctive parts of the 
rite. What is our ground of comfort, however, will 
be their ground of accusation against us ; for they are 
sure to go away and report that our worship consists 

254 Prejudice the Life of 

of crossings, bowing, genuflexions, incensings, loco- 
motions, and revolvings, all about nothing. 

In this matter, my Brothers, as I have already said, 
the plain truth is the keenest of satires ; and there- 
fore, instead of using any words of my own, I shall put 
before you a Protestant's account of a Benediction of 
the Blessed Sacrament, which he went to see in the 
Chapel of the Fathers of the Oratory in London. I 
quote his words from a publication of an important 
body, the British Reformation Society, established in 
the year 1827, and supported, I believe, by a number of 
eminent persons, noblemen, gentlemen, and ministers of 
various denominations. The periodical I speak of is 
called " The British Protestant^ or Journal of the Re- 
ligious Principles of the Reformation.'''' It would seem 
to be one of the Society's accredited publications, as it 
has its device upon the title-page. In the 62d Number 
of this work, being the Number for February 1850, 
we are presented with " Extracts from the Journal 
of a Protestant Scripture Eeader." This gentleman, 
among his missionary visits to various parts of Lon- 
don, dropt in, it seems, on Tuesday, January 8th, to 
the Roman Catholic Chapel in King William Street ; 
which, he commences his narrative by telling us, 
for " the large roses of every colour, and laurel," 
''was more like the flower-shops in the grand row of 
Co vent Garden than a place of worship." Well, he 
had a right to his opinion here as much as another ; 
and I do not mean to molest him in it. Nor shall I 
say anything of his account of the Sermon, which was 

the Protestant Viezu. 255 

upon one of the January Saints, and which he blames 
for not having in it the Name of Jesus, or one word of 
Scripture," from beginning to end ; not dreaming that 
a Rite was to follow, in which we not only bow before 
the Name, but worship the real and substantial Pre- 
sence of our exalted Lord. 

I need hardly observe to you, my Brothers, that the 
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is one of the 
simplest rites of the Church. The Priests enter and 
kneel down ; one of them unlocks the Tabernacle, takes 
out the Blessed Sacrament, inserts it upright in a 
Monstrance of precious metal, and sets it in a con- 
spicuous place above the altar, in the midst of lights, 
for all to see. The people then begin to sing ; 
meanwhile the Priest twice offers incense to the King 
of heaven, before whom he is kneeling. Then he takes 
the Monstrance in his hands, and turning to the people, 
blesses them with the Most Holy, in the form of a 
cross, while the bell is sounded by one of the attendants 
to call attention to the ceremony. It is our Lord's 
solemn benediction of His people, as when He lifted 
up His hands over the children, or when He blessed His 
chosen ones when He ascended up from Mount Olivet. 
As sons might come before a parent before going to 
bed at night, so, once or twice a week, the great Catholic 
family comes before the Eternal Father, after the 
bustle or toil of the day, and He smiles upon them, 
and sheds upon them the light of His countenance. 
It is a full accomplishment of what the Priest invoked 
upon the Israelites, " The Lord bless thee and keep 
thee ; the Lord show His face to thee and have mercy 
on thee ; the Lord turn His countenance to thee and 

256 Prejudice the Life of 

give thee peace." Can there be a more touching rite, 
even in the judgment of those who do not believe in it ? 
How many a man, not a Catholic, is moved, on seeing 
it, to say, " Oh, that I did but believe it !" when he 
sees the Priest take up the Fount of Mercy, and the 
people bent low in adoration ! It is one of the most 
beautiful, natural, and soothing actions of the Church 
— not so, however, in the judgment of our young Pro- 
testant Scripture Reader, to whom I now return. 

This Protestant Scripture Reader then, as he calls 
himself, enters the chapel, thinking, of course, he 
knows all about everything. He is the measure of 
everything, or at least of everything Popish. Popery 
he knows perfectly well, in substance, in spirit, in 
drift, in results ; and he can interpret all the details 
when they come before him at once, by this previous, 
or what a theologian might term " infused," know- 
ledge. He knows, and has known from a child, that 
Popery is a system of imposture, nay, such brazen 
imposture, that it is a marvel, or rather a miracle, that 
any one can be caught by it — a miracle, that is, of 
Satan : for without an evil influence it is quite impos- 
sible any single soul could believe what the Protestant 
Scripture Reader would call so " transparent a fraud." 
As a Scripture Reader, he knows well the text. Second 
of Thessalonians, chapter two, verse eleven, " He shall 
send them strong delusion that they should believe a 
lie," and he applies it to the scene before him. He 
knows that it is the one business of the Priest to take 
in the people, and he knows that the people are so in- 
conceivably brutish that nothing is too gross or absurd 
a trick to take them in withal. If the Priest were to 

the Protestant View. 257 

put up a scarecrow, tliey, like the silly birds, would 
run away as if it were a man ; and lie lias only to handle 
his balls or cards, and flourish them about, and they take 
him for a god. Indeed, we all know, he gives out he is 
a god, and can do what he pleases, for it is sin to doubt 
it. It is most wonderful, certainly, as to this Popery, 
that in spite of the Parliament all in a bustle, pass- 
ing laws, as if against typhus or cholera, yet there it is, 
and spread it will ; however, Satan is the father of lies ; 
that is sufficient. With this great principle, I say, 
clearly impressed upon his mind, he walks into the 
chapel, knowing well he shall find some juggling there ; 
accordingly, he is not at all surprised at the scene which 
passes before him. He looks on at his ease, and draws 
up his own account of it, all the time that the Catholic 
people are bowing and singing, and the Priest incens- 
ing ; and his account runs thus : — 

After the sermon, he tells us (I am quoting the very 
words of his Journal), " another young priest came in 
with a long wand in his hand, and an extinguisher on 
the top of it, and a small candle, and he began to light 
others." ''^ Another^ QWCLg priest : " he thinks we are born 
priests ; " priest" is a sort of race, or animal, or pro- 
duction, as oxen or sheep may be, and there are young 
priests and old priests, and black priests and white 
priests, and perhaps men priests and women priests ; 
and so in came this " other young priest " with a wand. 
" With a wand :" he evidently thinks there is some- 
thing religious about this lighter and extinguisher ; it 
is a conjuror's wand ; you will, I think, see presently I 
am borne out in saying this. He proceeds : " The 
next part of the play was four priests coming to the 


258 Prejudice the Life of 

altar" (it is as I said; everything is a priest), " four 
priests, and Gordon in the middle : " this is a mistake, 
and an unwarrantable and rude use of the name of one 
of the Fathers of the London Oratory, my dear brother 
and friend, the Reverend Philip Gordon — for it was not 
he, and he was not a priest; accordingly, I should 
leave the name out, except that it adds a good deal to 
the effect of the whole. " One of them," he proceeds, 
" took from a small cupboard on the altar," that is, from 
the tabernacle, ''a gold star; this is the headoi the Mon- 
strance, in which is placed the Blessed Sacrament, "and 
screwed it on to a candlestick," that is, the foot of the 
Monstrance, " and placed it on the top of the altar, 
under the form of a beehive, supported by four pillars," 
that is, under the canopy. He calls the head of the 
Monstrance a star, because it consists of a circle sur- 
rounded by rays ; and he seems to think it in some way 
connected with the season of the year, the Epiphany, 
when the Star appeared to the Wise Men. 

" The Star," he proceeds, "glittered like diamonds, 
for it had a round lamp in the middle of it ; " I suppose 
he means the glass covering the Blessed Sacrament, 
which reflected the light, and you will see clearly, as 
he goes on, that he actually thinks the whole congre- 
gation was worshipping this star and lamp. " This 
Star glittered like diamonds, for it had a round lamp 
in the middle of it ; when placed under the beehive, 
the four priests began to burn incense, waving a large 
thing like a lanthorn" (the thurible) "towards the 
Star, and bowing themselves to kiss the foot of 
the altar before the Star." Now observe, my Brothers, 
I repeat, I am not blaming this person for not knowing 

the Protestant View, 259 

a Catholic rite, which he had no means of knowing, but 
for thinking he knows it, when he does not know it, 
for coming into the chapel, with this most coxcombical 
idea in his head, that Popery is a piece of mummery, 
which any intelligent Protestant can see through, and 
therefore being not at all surprised, but thinking it very 
natural, when he finds four priests, a young priest with 
a wand, and a whole congregation, worshipping a gold 
star glittering like diamonds with a lamp in it. This 
is what I mean by prejudice. 

Now you may really have a difficulty in believing 
that I have interpreted him rightly ; so let me proceed. 
" The next piece acted was, one of them went to bring 
down the Star, and put it on the altar, while another 
put something like a white shawl round Gordon's 
shoulders." True ; he means the veil which is put 
upon the Priest, before he turns round with the 
Blessed Sacrament in his hand. " Grordon next takes 
the Star, and, turning his face to the people, to raise 
up the Star, with part of the shawl round the candle- 
stick, the other two priests, one on each side of him, 
drawing the shawl, it showed a real piece of magic art." 
Now what makes this so amusing to the Catholic is, 
that, as far as the priest's actions go, it is really so 
accurately described. It is the description of one who 
has his eyes about him, and makes the best of them, 
but who, as he goes on, is ever putting his own absurd 
comment on everything which occurs in succession. 
Now, observe, he spoke of " magic ; " let us see what 
the magic is, and what becomes of the Star, the lamp, 
and the candlestick with the shawl round it. 

" As Gordon raised the Star, with his back to all the 

26o Prejudice the Life of 

lighted candles on the altar, he clearly showed \)aQ 
Popish deceit, for in the candlestick there is a bell. " Here 
is his first great failure of fact ; he could not be looking 
at two places at once ; he heard the bell, which the 
attendant was ringing at one side ; he did not see it ; 
where could it be? his ready genius, that is, the genius 
of his wonderful prejudice about us, told him at once 
where it was. It was a piece of priestcraft, and the 
bell was concealed inside the foot of the candlestick ; — 
listen. " As Gordon raised the Star, with his back 
turned to all the lighted candles on the altar, he clearly 
showed the Popish deceit ; for in the candlestick there 
is a bell, that rung three times of its own accord, to 
deceive the blind fools more ; and the light through the 
shawl showed so many colours, as Father Gordon moved 
his body; the bell ringing they could not see, for the 
candlestick was covered with part of this magic shawl, 
and Gordon's finger at work underneath," 

Such is his account of the rite of Benediction ; he is 
so densely ignorant of us, and so supremely confident 
of his knowledge, that he ventures to put in print 
something like the following rubrical direction for its 
celebration : — 

(^° First^ a young priest setteth up a golden, diamond- 
like star, with a lamp in it, sticking it on to the top of a 
candlestick ; then he lighteth ffty candles by means of a 
wand with an extinguisher and ovax candle upon it ; then 
four priests bow, burn incense, and wave a lanthorn before 
the star; then one of the priests, hiding what he is at, by 
means of a great shawl about his hands and the foot of 
the candlestick, taketh up said candlestick, with the lamp 

the Protestant View. 261 

and gold star glittering like diamonds^ and heginneth 
secretly to tinkle with his finger a hell hid in its foot ; 
whereupon the whole congregation marvelleth much, and 
worshippeth star, lamp^ and candlestick incontinently. 

He ends with the following peroration : — " This is 
the power of priests ; they are the best play actors in 
this town. I should be glad to see this published, that 
I might take it to Father Gordon, to see if he could 
contradict a word of it." Rather, such is the power of 
prejudice, by good luck expressed in writing, and given 
to the world, as a specimen of what goes on, without 
being recorded, in so many hundred thousands of minds. 
The very confidence with which he appeals to the 
accuracy of his testimony, only shows how prejudice can 
create or colour, where facts are harmless or natural. 
It is superior to facts, and lives in a world of its 

Nor would it be at all to the purpose to object, that, 
had he known what the Eite really meant, he would 
quite as much, or even more, have called it idolatry. 
The point is not what he would think of our rites, if he 
understood them exactly, for I am not supposing his 
judgment to be worth anything at all, or that we are 
not as likely to be right as an individual Scripture 
Reader ; the question is not, what he would judge, but 
what he did think, and how he came to think it. His 
prejudice interpreted our actions. 


Alas, my Brothers, though we have laughed at the 
extravao:ance which shows itself in such instances of 

262 Prejudice the Life of 

prejudice, it is in truth no matter for a jest. If I laugL, 
it is to hide the deep feelings of various kinds which it 
necessarily excites in the mind. I laugh at what is 
laughable in the displaj'S of this wretched root of evil, 
in order to turn away my thoughts from its nature and 
effects, which are not laughable, but hateful and 
dangerous — dangerous to the Catholic, hateful to the 
Supreme Judge. When you see a beast of prey in his 
cage, you are led to laugh at its impotent fury, at its 
fretful motions and its sullen air, and its grotesque 
expressions of impatience, disappointment, and malice, 
if it is baulked of its revenge. And, as to this Pre- 
judice, Brothers of the Oratory, really in itself it is one 
of the direst, most piteous, most awful phenomena in 
the whole country ; to see a noble, generous people the 
victims of a moral infirmity, which is now a fever, now 
an ague, now a falling sickness, now a frenzy, and now 
a St Vitus's dance ! Oh, if we could see as the Angels 
see, thus should we speak of it, and in language far 
more solemn. I told you why, in an earlier part of 
this Lecture ; — not simply because the evil comes from 
beneath, as I believe it does ; not only because it so 
falls upon the soul, and occupies it, that it is like a bad 
dream or nightmare, which is so hard to shake off ; — 
but chiefly because it is one of the worst sins of which 
our poor nature is capable. Perhaps it is wrong to 
compare sin with sin, but I declare to you, the more I 
think of it, the more intimately does this prejudice seem 
to me to corrupt the soul, even beyond those sins which 
are commonly called most deadly, as the various forms 
of impurity or pride. And why ? because, I repeat it, 
it argues so astonishing a want of mere natural charity 

the Protestant View. 263 

or love of our kind. It is piercing enough to tliink 
what little faith there is in the country; hut it is quite 
heartrending to witness so utter a deficiency in a mere 
natural virtue. Oh, is it possible, that so many, many 
men, and women too, good and kind otherwise, should 
take such delight in being quite sure that millions of 
men have the sign and seal of the Evil One upon them ! 
Oh, is it conceivable that they can be considerate in 
all matters of this life, friendly in social intercourse, 
indulgent to the wayward, charitable to the poor and 
outcast, merciful towards criminals, nay, kind towards 
the inferior creation, towards their cows, and horses, 
and swine ; yet, as regards us, who bear the same 
form, speak the same tongue, breathe the same air, and 
walk the same streets, ruthless, relentless, believing ill 
of us, and wishing to believe it! I repeat it, they wish 
us to be what they believe us to be ; what a portentous 
fact ! They delight to look at us, and to believe that 
we are the veriest reptiles and vermin which belied the 
human form divine. It is a dear thought, which they 
cannot bear to lose. True, it may have been taught 
them from their youth, they never may have had means 
to unlearn it, — that is not the point ; they have never 
wished better things of us, they have never hoped better 
things. They are tenacious of what they believe, they 
are impatient of being argued with, they are angry at 
being contradicted, they are disappointed when a point 
is cleared up ; they had rather that rce should be guilty 
than they mistaken ; they have no wish at all we should 
not be blaspheming hypocrites, stupid idolaters, loath- 
some profligates, unprincipled rogues, and bloodthirsty 
demons. They are kinder even to their dogs and their 

264 Prejudice the Life of 

cats than to us. Is it not true ? can it be denied ? is 
it not portentous? does it not argue an incompleteness 
or hiatus in the very structure of their moral nature ? 
has not something, in their case, dropped out of the 
list of natural qualities proper to man ? 

And hence it is, that, calm as may be the sky, and 
gentle the breeze, we cannot trust the morning : at 
any moment a furious tempest may be raised against 
us, and scatter calamity through our quiet homes, as 
long as the Prince of the power of the air retains this 
sovereignty. There is ever a predisposition in the 
political and social atmosphere to lour and thicken. 
We never are secure against the access of madness in 
that people, whose name and blood we share. Some 
accident, — a papal bull, worded as papal documents 
have been since the beginning of time, a sudden scandal 
among our priests or in our convents, or some bold and 
reckless falsehood, may raise all England against us. 
Such also was our condition in the first age of the 
Church : the chance of the hour brought the Pagan 
Eomans upon us. A rash Christian tore down an 
Imperial manifesto from its place ; the horrible 
Dioclesian persecution was the consequence. A crop 
failed, a foe appeared, it was all through the poor 
Christians. So speaks the early Christian Apologist, 
the celebrated Tertullian, in his defence of us, about a 
hundred years after St John's time. " They think the 
Christians," he says, " to be the cause of every public 
calamity, of every natioi^al ill. If the Tiber cometh 
up to the walls, if the Nile cometh not up to the fields, 
if the r^in hath not fallen, if the earth hath been 
moved, if there be any famine, if any pestilence, Chris- 


the Protestant Viezv. 265 

tianos ad leonem — to the lion with the Christians — is 
forthwith the cry." No limit could be put to the 
brutishness of the notions then entertained of us by 
the heathen. They believed we fed on children ; they 
charged us with the most revolting forms of incest ; 
they gave out that we worshipped beasts or monsters. 
" Now a new report of our God hath been lately set 
forth in this city," says the same Tertullian, '' since a 
certain wretch put forth a picture with some such title 
as this, — The god of the Christians conceived of an 
ass. This was a creature with ass's ears, with a hoof 
on one foot, carrying a book, and wearing a gown. 
We smiled both at the name and the figure." Not 
indeed the same, but parallel, are the tales told of us 
now. Sottish absurdities are gravely appropriated as 
precious truths. Our very persons, not merely our 
professions, are held in abhorrence ; we are spit at by 
the malevolent, we are passed with a shudder of 
contemptuous pity by the better natured; we are 
supposed to be defiled by some secret rites of blood by 
the ignorant. There is a mysterious pollution and 
repulsion about us, which makes those who feel its 
influence curious or anxious to investigate what it can 
be. We are regarded as something unclean, which a 
man would not touch, if he could help it : and our 
advances are met as would be those of some hideous 
baboon, or sloth, or rattlesnake, or toad, which strove 
to make itself agreeable. 

Is it wonderful, with this spirit of delusion on the 
faculties of tjie many, that charges against us are 

266 Prejudice the Life of 

believed as soon as made ? So was it two centuries 
ago ; one or two abandoned men, Titus Gates, whom 
the Protestant Hume calls " the most infamous of 
mankind," William Bedloe, who, the same writer says, 
was, " if possible, more infamous than Gates," and 
some others, aided h^ the lucky accident of the 
assassination of a London magistrate, whose murderers 
were never discovered, were sufficient, by a bold 
catalogue of calumnies, to put the whole kingdom into 
a paroxysm of terror and suspicion. The fit had been 
some time coming on, when " the cry of a plot," says 
Hume, " all on a sudden, struck their ears. They 
were awakened from their slumber, and, like men 
affrighted in the dark, took every figure for a spectre. 
The terror of each man became a source of terror to 
another ; and a universal panic being diffused, reason 
and argument, and common sense and common 
humanity, lost all influence over them." 

Gates and Bedloe come forward to swear against us 
the most atrocious and impossible falsehoods. The 
Pope and Propaganda had claimed possession of 
England ; and he had nominated the Jesuits to be his 
representatives here, and to hold the supreme power for 
him. All the offices of government had been filled up 
under the seal of this Society, and all the dignities of 
the Protestant Church given away, in great measure, to 
Spaniards and other foreigners. The king had been 
condemned to death as a heretic. There had been a 
meeting of fifty Jesuits in London during the foregoing 
May, when the king's death was determined on. He 
was to be shot or to be poisoned. The confessor of the 
French king had sent to London £10,000 as a reward 

the Protestant View. 267 

for any one who would assassinate him; a Spanish 
ecclesiastic had offered £10,000 more; and the Prior 
of the Benedictines £6,000. The Queen's physician 
had been offered £10,000, and had asked £15,000, for 
the job ; and had received an instalment of £5,000. 
Four Irish ruffians had been hired by the Jesuit? at 
twenty guineas a-piece, to shoot the king at Windsor. 
Two others were also engaged, one at £1,500; the other, 
being a pious man, preferred to take out the money in 
masses, of which he was to receive £30,000. Another 
had been promised canonization and £500, if he was 
successful in the enterprise. There was a subscription 
going on among the Catholics all through England, to 
collect sums for the same purpose. The Jesuits had 
determined to set fire to London, Southwark, and all 
the chief cities of the country. They were planning to 
set fire to all the shipping in the Thames. Twenty 
thousand Catholics were to rise in London in twenty- 
four hours' time, who, it was estimated, might cut the 
throats of 100,000 Protestants. The most eminent 
divines of the Establishment were especially marked for 
assassination. Ten thousand men were to be landed 
from abroad in the North, and were to seize Hull ; and 
20,000 or 30,000 religious men and pilgrims from Spain 
were to land in Wales. 

Is all this grave history ? — it is. Do not think I 

have added aught of my own; it is unnecessary. 

Invention cannot run with prejudice. Prejudice wins. 

I Do not my true stories of Protestantism beat the fables 

I against Catholicism of Achilli and Maria Monk ? they 

are a romance, true and terrible. 

What came of these wild allegations, preferred by 

268 Prejudice the Life of 

men of infamous character, and favoured by tlie accident 
of Sir Edmonsbury Godfrey's murder, by unknown as- 
sassins? "Without further reasoning," says Hume, "the 
cry rose that he had been assassinated by the Papists, 
on account of his taking Oates's evidence. The clamour 
was quiclvly propagated, and met with universal belief. 
Each hour teemed with new rumours and surmises. 
To deny the reality of the plot was to be an accomplice; 
to hesitate was criminal. Royalist, republican, church- 
man, sectary, courtier, patriot, all parties concurred in 
the illusion. The city prepared for its defence, as if the 
enemy were at its gates ; the chains and posts were put 

up The dead body of Godfrey was carried into 

the city, attended by vast multitudes Seventy- 
two clergymen marched before ; above a thousand 
persons of distinction followed after; and, at the funeral 
sermon, two able-bodied divines mounted the pulpit, and 
stood on each side of the preacher, lest, in paying the 
last duties to this unhappy magistrate, he should, 
before the whole people, be murdered by the 

A recent historian adds to the picture:* " Every- 
where," he says, "justices were busied in searching 
houses and seizing papers. All the gaols were filled 
with Papists. London had the aspect of a city in a 
state of siege. The trainbands were under arms all 
night. Preparations were made for barricading the 
great thoroughfares. Patrols marched up and down 
the streets. Cannon were placed round Whitehall. 
No citizen thought himself safe, unless he carried 

* Macaulay, History, vol. i. p. 233. 

the Protestant View. 269 

under his coat a small flail loaded with lead to brain the 
Popish assassins." 

The Parliament kept pace with the people, a solemn 
fast was voted, and a form of prayer drawn up ; five 
Catholic peers were committed to the Tower on 
charge of high treason ; a member of the Commons, 
who in private society spoke strongly against the 
defenders of the plot, was expelled the House ; and 
both Houses, Lords and Commons, voted, almost in the 
form of a dogmatic decree, '^ that there is, and hath 
been, a damnable and hellish plot, contrived and carried 
on by the Popish recusants, for assassinating the king, 
for subverting the Government, and for rooting-out and 
destroying the Protestant succession." Titus Gates 
was called the Saviour of his country ; was lodged in 
Whitehall, protected by guards, and rewarded with a 
pension of £1200 a year. 

I will not pursue the history of this remarkable 
frenzy into its deeds of blood, into the hangings, and 
embowellings, and the other horrors of which innocent 
Catholics were in due course the victims. Well had 
it been had the pretended plot ended with the worldly 
promotion of its wretched fabricators, whom at this 
day all the world gives up to reprobation and infamy. 
Gates and Bedloe were the Maria Monk, the Jeffreys, 
the Teodore, the Achilli of their hour, on a larger field; 
^they spoke then as Protestant champions speak now, 
to the prejudices of the people : they equalled our own 
slanderers in falsehood and assurance, — in success they 
surpassed them. 

We live in a happier age than our forefathers ; at 
feast, let us trust that the habits of society and the 

270 Pj-ejudice the Life of the P^^otestant View. 

self-interest of classes and of sects will render it 
impossible that blind prejudice and brute passion 
should ever make innocence and helplessness their 
sport and their prey, as they did in the seventeenth 




rrHERE is a great and a growing class in the com- 
munity, who wish to be fair to us, who see how 
cruelly we are dealt with, who are indignant at the 
clamour, and see through the calumnies, and despise 
the prejudice, which are directed against us, who feel 
themselves to he superior to the multitude in their 
feelings and their judgments, who aim at thinking well 
of all men, all persuasions, all schools of thought, and 
of Catholics in the number, and to like each for what 
is good in it, though they may not follow it them- 
selves. Being thus candid, and, in a certain sense, 
unbiassed, they readily acknowledge the grandeur of 
the Catholic Eeligion, both in history and in philosophy; 
they wish to be good friends with it ; they delight to 
contemplate its great heroes ; they recognise, perhaps, 
with almost enthusiastic admiration, the genius and 
other gifts of the intellect, which in every age have 

272 Assumed Principles the Intellectual 

been so profusely found among its adherents. They 
know and they like individual Catholics ; they have 
every desire to like us in all respects ; they set their 
minds towards liking us, our principles, our doctrines, 
our worship, and our ways. As far as can be said of 
men, they really have no prejudice. In this interest- 
ing and excellent state of mind, they take up one of 
our books, sincerely wishing to get on with it ; alas, 
they are flung back at once ; they see so much which 
they cannot abide at all, do what they will. They are 
annoyed at themselves, and at us ; but there is no help 
for it ; they discover, they feel that between them and 
US there is a gulf. So they turn from the subject in 
disgust, and for a time perhaps are in bad humour 
with religion altogether, and have a strong temptation 
to believe nothing at all. Time passes ; they get over 
the annoyance, and perhaps make a second attempt to 
adjust their own feelings with our doctrines, but with 
no better success. They had hoped to have found some 
middle term, some mode of reconciliation ; they did not 
expect agreement, but at least peace ; not coincidence, 
but at least a sort of good understanding and concur- 
rence ; — whereas they find antagonism. No : it is 
impossible ; it is melancholy to say it, but it is no 
use disguising the truth from themselves ; they cannot 
get over this or that doctrine or practice ; nay, to be 
honest, there is no part they can acquiesce in ; each 
separate portion is part of a whole. They are disap- 
pointed, but they never can believe, they never can 
even approve ; if the Catholic system be true, faith in 
it must be a gift, for reason does not bear it out. 
What are the things which so offend the candid and 

Ground of the Protestaiit View. 273 

kindly disposed persons in question ? So many, that 
they do not know where to begin, nor where to end. 
It is the whole system of Catholicism ; our miracles, 
and om- relics, and our legends of saints; and then our 
doctrine of indulgences, and our purgatory ; and our 
views of sin, and of the virtue of penances ; and our 
strange formalities in worship ; in a word, all is extra- 
vagant, strained, unnatural, where it is not directly 
offensive, or substantially impossible. They never 
could receive any part of it, they are sure ; they would 
find it as hard to receive one part as the whole. They 
must lose their moral identity, and wake up with a 
new stock of thoughts, principles, and argumentative 
methods, ere they could ever endure it. 

If such is the feeling of even candid and kind men, 
what will be the impression produced by Catholicism 
on the prejudiced ? You see it is a cause of shrinking 
from us quite independent of prejudice, for it exists 
among those who are not prejudiced ; but it may be 
joined with prejudice, and then the aversion and 
abhorrence entertained towards us will be intense 
indeed. In that case, reason (that is, what the person 
in question takes to be such) — ^reason and passion will 
go together. 

Further, consider that it is not individuals merely, 
here and there, but vast multitudes who are affected 
precisely in the same way at hearing our doctrines ; 
millions, whole nations. Each member of them bears 
witness to the rest; there is the consent, intimate, 
minute, exact, absolute, of all classes, all ranks, all 
ages, all dispositions. All this is a fact ; we see it before 
us : do we require anything more to account for the 

2 74 Assumed Principles the Iniellectual 

position we hold in a Protestant country ? So strong" 
does the persuasion become, that Catholicism is inde- 
fensible, that our opponents become aggressive ; they 
not only spurn our creed and our worship themselves, 
but they are (as they think) in a condition to maintain 
that we too in our hearts despise both the one and the 
other as really as they. They will not believe that 
educated men can sincerely accept either ; they do not 
hold them, therefore no one else can hold them. They 
conclude, therefore, that we disbelieve what we teach 
and practise ; and in consequence, that we are hypo- 
crites, as professing one thing, and thinking another. 
Next they come to a third conclusion, that since no one 
acts without motives, we must have a motive in pro- 
fessing without believing, and it must be a bad motive ; 
for instance, gain or power : accordingly we are, first, 
unbelievers ; secondly, liars ; thirdly, cheats and rob- 
bers. And thus you have full-blown Priestcraft ; here 
you have Popery simply detected and uncloaked : and 
observe the course of the argument ; — Catholic Priests 
are infidels, are hypocrites, are rogues, why ? simply, 
because Protestants think Catholic doctrine and Catho- 
lic worship irrational. 

Here then. Brothers of the Oratory, you see I have 
pointed out to your notice a cause of the feeling which 
is cherished towards us and our religion, altogether 
distinct from any other I have hitherto mentioned ; 
and perhaps the most important of all. I say the most 
important, because it influences not only the multitude 
of men, but the men of thought, of education, of can- 
dour, those who are conscious they do wish to do us 

Ground of the Protestant View. 275 

justice. The instinctive rising of the mind, of the 
intellect, of the reason (so they would say themselves, 
though, of course, and, as you will see, I am not going 
to allow it), opposes itself to the Catholic system. Is 
not our cause hopeless ? how can we ever overcome so 
overwhelmingly formidable a fact ? 

I acknowledge its force is very great : this is the 
argument to which men mean to point, when they talk 
of education, light, progress, and so on, being the 
certain destruction of Catholicism. They think our 
creed is so irrational that it will fall to pieces of itself, 
when the sun of reason is directed in upon the places 
which at present it is enveloping. And I repeat 
(without of course allowing for an instant that this 
spontaneous feeling, if so it may be called, is synony- 
mous with reason), I acknowledge that it is a most 
tremendous obstacle in the way of our being fairly 
dealt with. And our enemies, I say again, are in great 
triumph about it; they say, "Let in education upon 
them ; leave them to reason ; set the schoolmaster upon 
them." Well, I allow this "reason" (to use for the 
moment their own designation of it) is a serious incon- 
venience to us : it is a hindrance in our path ; but I 
do not think it so invincible a weapon as they consider 
it; and on this simple ground, — because, if it were 
so ready, so safe, and so complete a method as 
they would have it, I consider they would have been 
slower to take other methods ; for instance, slower to 
hang, to embowel, to quarter, to imprison, to banish. 
If this "reason" would do their work for them so 
well, I do not think they would have established their 
" reason," instead of leaving it to fight its own battles ; 

276 Assumed Principles the Intellecttial 

I do not think we should have had so many laws passed 
in favour of " Reason " and against us the Irrational. 
If this " Reason," as they choose to call it, made such 
short work with Catholicism, they would not have been 
so frightened at what they call " Popish Agression," 
or have directed a stringent Act of Parliament against 
a poor twentieth part of the population of Eng- 
land. If this innate common sense, as they de- 
sire to consider it, were so crushing, so annihilating 
to our claims, to our existence, why the thousands 
of fables, fictions, falsehoods, fallacies, put out against 
us ? why Maria Monk, and Jeffreys, and Teodore, 
and Achilli ? Allowing, then, as I do, the im- 
portance of the phenomenon which I have been 
mentioning, feeling most fully that it requires careful 
consideration, granting that we may be fairly asked 
what we have to say to it, and that we ought to account 
for its existence, — nevertheless, I do not think it is so 
decisive an argument as its own upholders would make 
it, else it ought to have altogether superseded all 

In truth, the spontaneous feeling against our doc- 
trines and worship, of which I have been speaking, has 
far greater influence with educated men than with the 
many ; it is to the educated class what absurd fiction 
and false-witness are to the multitude : the multitude 
is credulous, the educated classes are speculative ; the 
multitude is sensitive of facts, true or false, the edu- 
cated classes of theories, sound or unsound ; though I 
do not deny that the educated classes are credulous too, 
and the multitude theorists. This, then, is pretty much 
the state of the case ; and as in former Lectures I have 

Ground of the Protestant View. 277 

directed your attention, my Brothers, to the fables and 
falsehoods circulated against us, as one special cause of 
the odium which attaches to the Catholic Name, so 
this evening I propose to give you some description of 
those views, theories, principles, or whatever they are 
to be called, which imbue the educated and active 
intellect, and lead it, as it were, instinctively and 
spontaneously, first to pronounce the creed and worship 
of Catholicism absurd, and next by inference to pro- 
nounce its professors hypocritical. 

I fear I have got upon a dry subject ; I must make 
some demand on your attention, yet I cannot help it. 
All subjects are not equally amusing, equally easy ; 
still it is too important a subject to omit. Did I do so, 
I should be said to be evading the most difficult part of 
the whole controversy. It is, indeed, the most im- 
portant of all I have to treat ; so important, that I 
cannot do justice to it in one Lecture, which is all I 
mean to give to it. So I have a double difficulty about 
it ; one lies in my writing, the other in your attending ; 
but I must do my best. 


You may recollect, that, in my Lecture last week, in 
speaking of prejudice, I alluded to opinions and con- 
clusions, which often went by the name of prejudices, 
yet should more properly be called Prejudgments or 
Presumptions ; for this reason, because they rest on 
argumentative grounds, and are abandoned by their 
upholders when those grounds fail them, whereas a 
prejudice is held tenaciously against reason. Thus a 
man may hold as a general fact, that Blacks are inferior 
to Whites in the gifts of intellect, and might thereby 

278 Assumed Principles the Intellectual 

be led to expect that a certain Black, whom he met, 
would be unequal to play his part in English society ; 
but he might yield at once when evidence was brought 
in proof of the ability of the particular individual in 
question ; or again, he might yield to argument directed 
against his view altogether. Here would be a presump- 
tion without a prejudice. On the other hand, if he still 
persisted that the particular Black was weak-minded 
and incapable, against fact, or if he refused to reconsider 
his grounds, when there was reason for his doing so, 
then certainly he would be justly called prejudiced. 

There is no difficulty so far ; but, observe, there are 
opinions and beliefs which do not depend on previous 
grounds, which are not drawn from facts, for which no 
reasons can be given, or no sufficient reasons, which 
proceed immediately from the mind, and which the 
holder considers to be, as it were, part of himself. If 
another person doubts them, the holder has nothing to 
show for their truth except that he is sure that they 
are true : he cannot say, " I will reconsider my 
" reasons," for he has no reasons to consider. What, 
then, is to make him abandon them ? what is to touch 
them ? He holds them, and continues to hold them, 
whatever is urged against him to the contrary ; 
and thus these opinions and beliefs look like preju- 
dices, though they are not. They are not prejudices, 
because prejudices are opinions formed upon grounds, 
which grounds the prejudiced person refuses to examine ; 
whereas these opinions which I am speaking of have 
from the first no grounds at all, but are simple per- 
suasions or sentiments, which came to the holder he 
cannot tell how, and which apparently he cannot help 

Ground o f the Protestant View. 279 

holding, and they are in consequence commonlj' called 
First Principles. For instance, that all Blacks are 
unintellectual would be a prejudice, if obstinately held 
against facts ; whereas the obstinate belief that God 
cannot punish in hell is rather a first principle than a 
prejudice, because (putting aside the authority of Reve- 
lation) it can hardly be said to come within the reach of 
facts at all. From what I have said, it is plain that 
First Principles may be false or true ; indeed this is 
my very point, as you will presently see. Certainly 
they are not necessarily true ; and again, certainly 
there are ways of unlearning them when they are false : 
moreover, as regards moral and religious First Prin- 
ciples which are false, of course a Catholic considers 
that no one holds them except by some fault of his own: 
but these are further points, and some of them beyond 
my present subject, which is not theological ; however, 
I mention them to prevent misconception. 

Now that there must be such things as First Prin- 
ciples — that is, opinions which are held without proof 
as if self-evident, — and, moreover, that every one 
must have some or other, who thinks at all, is evident 
from the nature of the case. If you trace back your 
reasons for holding an opinion, you must stop some- 
where ; the process cannot go on for ever ; you must 
come at last to something you cannot prove ; else, life 
would be spent in inquiring and reasoning, our minds 
would be ever tossing to and fro, and there would be 
nothing to guide us. No man alive, but has some First 
Principles or other. Even if he declares that nothing 
can be known for certain, then that is his First Prin- 
ciple. He has got his place in philosophy ready marked 

28o Assumed Principles the Intellectual 

out for liim ; he is of the sect called Academics or 
Pjrrhonists, as the case may be, and his dogma is 
either " Nothing can be known in itself," or " No- 
thing can be known even for practical purposes."' 
Any one may convince himself of the truth of what I 
am saying, who examines his own sentiments ; for 
instance, supposing, on meeting a particular person, 
you said you would have nothing to do with him politi- 
cally, and gave as your reason, because he belonged to 
a certain political party. And, supposing, on being 
asked why you disliked that party, you answered, because 
their very principle was to stand upon their own rights ; 
and then supposing you were asked why it was wrong 
to stand on one's own rights, and you answered again, 
because it was selfish and proud ; and being asked once 
more, why selfishness and pride were wrong, supposing 
youanswered that selfishness and pride were bad feelings, 
because they were the feelings of the bad angels, who 
stood upon their supposed rights against their Maker ; 
or, to sum up the whole in Dr Johnson's famous saying, 
because " the devil was the first Whig," — why, in that 
case, you see, you would have come to a First Principle, 
beyond which you could not get. I am not saying 
whether your reasoning, or your First Principle, was 
true or false ; that is quite another matter ; I am but 
illustrating what is meant by a First Principle, and 
how it is that all reasoning ultimately rests upon such. 
It would be your First Principle, in the case supposed, 
a principle for which no reason could be given, that the 
bad angels are to be avoided ; thence it would follow 
that what is like them is to be avoided ; and from that 
again, it followed that pride and selfishness are to be 

Ground of the Protestant View. 281 

avoided ; and/ro»? that again, that the particular poli- 
tical party in question is to be avoided. This, I repeat, 
is what is called a First Principle, and you see what a 
bearing it has both upon thought and upon action. 

It is a First Principle that man is a social being ; a 
First Principle that he may defend himself; a First 
Principle that he is responsible ; a First Principle that 
he is frail and imperfect ; a First Principle that reason 
must rule passion. 

I will set down one or two other instances of First 
Principles by way of further illustration. 

The celebrated Roman patriot Cato stabbed himself 
when besieged at Utica, rather than fall into the hands 
of Caesar. He thought this a very great action, and so 
have many others besides. In like manner Saul, in 
Scripture, fell on his sword when defeated in battle ; 
and there have been those who reproached Napoleon 
for not having blown out his brains on the field of 
Waterloo. Now, if these advocates of suicide had been 
asked why they thought such conduct, under such 
circumstances, noble, perhaps they would have returned 
the querist no answer, as if it were too plain to talk 
about, or from contempt of him, as if he were a person 
without any sense of honour, any feeling of what 
becomes a gentleman, of what a soldier, a hero owes to 
himself. That is, they would not bring out their First 
Principle from the very circumstance that they felt its 
power so intensely ; that First Principle being, that 
there is no evil so great in the whole universe, visible 
and invisible, in time and eternity, as humiliation. 

Again, supposing a medical man were to say to his 
patient that he could not possibly get well unless he 

282 Assumed Principles the Intellectual 

gave up his present occupation, which was too mucli 
for his health; supposing him to say, ''As to the nay 
of your doing this — how you are to make your liveli- 
hood if you give it up ; or again, how you are to 
become a proficient in your present trade, or art, or 
intellectual pursuit ; or again, how, if you take that 
step, you can keep up your religious connections ; all 
these questions I have nothing to do with ; I am only 
speaking to you as a medical man ; " — nothing could 
be kinder or more sensible than such language ; he 
does not make his own medical enunciations First 
Principles ; he delivers his opinion, and leaves it to 
the patient to strike the balance of advantages. But 
it is just possible, to take an extreme case, that he 
might take another line. He might be so carried away 
by his love for his own science (as happens commonly 
to men in any department of knowledge), as to think 
that everything ought to give way to it. He might 
actually ridicule religious scruples as absurd, and 
prescribe something which would be simply unlawful 
to a religious man ; and he might give as a reason for 
such advice, that nature required it, and there was an 
end of the matter. In such case he would be going so 
far as to make the principles of his own science First 
Principles of conduct; and he would pronounce it 
impossible that moral duty ought in any case to inter- 
fere with or supersede the claims of animal nature. 

I will take a third instance : — I believe that some 
time ago various benevolent persons exerted themselves 
in favour of the brute creation, who endure so much 
wanton suffering at the hands of barbarous owners. 
Vai'ious speculations were set afloat in consequence, 

Ground of the Protestant View. 283 

and various measures advocated. I think I have heard 
that one doctrine was to the effect that it was wrong to 
eat veal, lamb, and other young meat, inasmuch as you 
killed creatures which would have enjoyed a longer life, 
and answered the purpose of food better, had you let 
them live to be beef and mutton. Again, shrimp sauce, 
it was said, ought to give way to lobster ; for in the 
latter case you took one life away, in the former a 
hundred. Now the world laughed at all this, and 
would not condescend to reason; perhaps could not, 
though it had the best of the question ; that is, perhaps 
it had not put its ideas sufficiently in order to be able 
to reason. However, it had reasons, and these reasons 
will be found traceable up to this First Principle, which 
expresses the common theory of all mankind in their 
conduct towards the inferior animals — viz., that the 
Creator has placed them absolutely in our hands, that 
we have no duties to them, and that there is as little 
sin, except accidentally, and in the particular case, in 
taking away a brute's life, as in plucking a flower or 
eating an orange. This being taken for granted, all 
questions are in their substance solved, and only 
accidental difficulties remain. 

I have said enough to show you what important, 
what formidable matters First Principles are. They 
are the means of proof, and are not themselves proved ; 
they rule, and are not ruled ; they are sovereign on the 
one hand, irresponsible on the other : they are absolute 
monarchs, and if they are true, they act like the best 
and wisest of fathers to us ; but, if they are false, they 
are the most cruel and baneful of tyrants. Yet, from 
the nature of our being, there they are, as I have said ; 

284 Assumed Principles the IntellectMal 

there they must ever be. They are our guides and 
standards in speculating, reasoning, judging, deliber- 
ating, deciding, and acting ; they are to the mind what 
the circulation of the blood and the various functions 
of our animal organs are to the body. They are the 
conditions of our mental life; by them we form our 
view of events, of deeds, of persons, of lines of conduct, 
of aims, of moral qualities, of religions. They constitute 
the difference between man and man ; they characterise 
him. According to his First Principles, is his religion, 
his creed, his worship, his political party, his character, 
except as far as adventitious circumstances interfere 
with their due and accurate development ; they are, in 
short, the man. 

One additional remark must be made, quite as 
important as the foregoing. I just now said that these 
First Principles, being a man's elementary points of 
thinking, and the ideas which he has prior to other 
ideas, might be considered as almost part of his mind 
or moral being itself. But, for this very reason, because 
they are so close to him, if I may so speak, he is very 
likely not to be aware of them. What is far off, your 
bodily eyes see ; what is close up to you is no object 
for your vision at all. You cannot see yourself; and, 
in somewhat the same way, the chance is that you are 
not aware of those principles or ideas which have the 
chief rule over your mind. They are hidden for the 
very reason they are so sovereign and so engrossing. 
They have sunk into you ; they spread through you ; 
you do not so much appeal to them as act from them. 
And this in great measure is meant by saying that 
self-knowledge is so difficult ; that is, in other 

Ground of the Protestant View. 285 

words, men commonly do not know their First Prin- 

Now to show you that they have this subtle and 
recondite character. For instance, two persons begin 
to converse ; they come upon some point on which they 
do not agree ; they fall to dispute. They go on arguing 
and arguing perhaps for hours ; neither makes way 
with the other, but each becomes more certain his own 
opinion is right. Why is this? How is it to be 
explained ? They cannot tell. It surprises them, for 
the point is so very clear ; as far as this they are 
agreed, but no further ; for then comes the difference, 
that where one says yes, the other says no, and each 
wonders that the other is not on his side. How comes 
each to be so positive when each contradicts the other ? 
The real reason is, that each starts from some principle 
or opinion which he takes for granted, which he does 
not observe he is assuming, and which, even if he did, 
he would think too plain to speak about or attempt to 
prove. Each starts with a First Principle, and they 
differ from each other in first principles. 

For instance, supposing two persons to dispute 
whether Milton was or was not a poet ; it might so 
happen, that they both took for granted that every one 
knew what a poet was. If so, they might go on arguing 
to the end of time and never agree, because they had 
not adjusted with each other the principles with which 
they started. 

Kow, here the mistake is very obvious ; it might, 
however, very easily be a First Principle which did not 
come so prominently forward in the discussion. It 
might come in by the by, neither party might see it 

286 Assumed Principles the Intellectual 

come in at all, or even recognise it to himself as a 
proposition which he held in the affirmative or negative, 
and yet it might simply turn the decision this way or 

Thus again it happens, to take an instance of another 
kind, that we cannot tell why we like some persons and 
dislike others, though there are reasons, if we could 
reach them ; according to the lines, — 

" I do not like thee, Dr Fell ; 
The reason why, I cannot tell." 

Or a person says, " I do not know how it is that this 
or that writer so comes home to me, and so inspires 
me ; I so perfectly agree with him," or " I can so 
easily follow his thoughts." Both feelings may be 
accounted for, at least in many cases, by a diiference or 
agreement in First Principles between the speaker and 
the person spoken of, which shows itself in the words, 
or writings, or deeds, or life of the latter, when 
submitted to the criticism of the former. 

Sometimes two friends live together for years, and 
appear to entertain the same religious views ; at the end 
of the time they take different courses ; one becomes an 
unbeliever, the other a Catholic. How is this? some 
latent and hitherto dormant First Principle, different 
in each, comes into play, and carries off one to the 
East, the other to the West. For instance, suppose 
the one holds that there is such a thing as sin ; the other 
denies it, — denies it, that is, really and in his heart, 
though at first he would shrink from saying so, even 
to himself, and is not aware he denies it. At a certain 
crisis, either from the pressure of controversy or other 

Ground of the Protesta'dt View. 287 

reason, each finds he must give up the form of religion 
in which he has been educated ; and then this question, 
the nature of sin, what it is, whether it exists, comes 
forward as a turning-point between them ; he who does 
not believe in it becomes an unbeliever ; he who does, 
becomes a Catholic. 

Such, then, are First Principles; sovereign, irre- 
sponsible, and secret ; — what an awful form of govern- 
ment the human mind is under from its verj'- consti- 
tution ! 


There are many of these First Principles, as I have 
called them, which are common to the great mass of man- 
kind, and are therefore true, as having been imprinted 
on the human mind by its Maker. Such are the great 
truths of the moral law, the duties, for instance, of 
justice, truth, and temperance. Others are peculiar to 
individuals, and are in consequence of no authority ; as, 
for instance, to take a case which cannot often occur, 
the opinion that there is no difference between virtue 
and vice. Other principles are common to extended 
localities ; men catch them from each other, by edu- 
cation, by daily intercourse, by reading the same books, 
or by being members of the same political community. 
Hence nations have very frequently one and the same 
set of First Principles, of the truth of which each indi- 
vidual is still more sure, because it is not only his own 
opinion, but the opinion of nearly every one else about 
him. Thus, for instance, it was the opinion of the 
ancient pagan Romans, that every one should follow the 
religion of his own country, and this was the reason 
why they persecuted the first Christians. They thought 

288 Assumed Principles the Intellechial 

it exceedingly hard that the Christians would take up a 
religion of their own, and that, an upstart religion, 
lately imported from Palestine. They said, " Why 
cannot you be contented to be as your ancestors ? we 
are most liberal on the point of religion ; we let a Jew 
follow Jewish rites, and an Egyptian the rites of Egypt, 
and a Carthaginian the Punic ; but you are ungrateful 
and rebellious, because, not content with this ample 
toleration, you will be introducing into your respective 
countries a foreign religion." They thought all this 
exceedingly sensible, and, in fact, unanswerable ; 
statesmen of all parties and all the enlightened men 
and great thinkers of the Empire gave in their adhe- 
sion to it ; and on this First Principle they proceeded 
to throw our poor forefathers to the beasts, to the 
flame, and to the deep, after first putting them to the 
most varied and horrible tortures. Such was the power 
of an imperial idea, and a popular dogma ; such is the 
consequence of a First Principle being held in common 
by many at once ; it ceases to be an opinion ; it is at 
once taken for truth ; it is looked upon as plain com- 
mon sense ; the opposite opinions are thought impos- 
sible ; they are absurdities and nonentities, and have 
no rights whatever. 

In the instance I have mentioned, the folly and the 
offence, in the eyes of the Romans, was proselytising ; 
but let us fancy this got over, would the Christian 
system itself have pleased the countrymen of Cato at 
all better ? On the contrary, they would have started 
with his First Principle, that humiliation was immoral, 
as an axiom ; they would not have attempted to prove 
it ; they would have considered it as much a fact as the 

Ground of the Protestant View. 289 

sun in heaven ; tliey would not have even enunciated it, 
they would have merely implied it. Fancy a really 
candid philosopher, who had been struck with the heroic 
deaths of the Martyrs, turning with a feeling of good 
will to consider the Christian ethics ; what repugnance 
would he not feel towards them on rising up from the 
study ! to crouch, to turn the cheek, not to resist, to 
love to he lowest ! Who ever heard of such a teaching ? 
it was the religion of slaves, it was unworthy of a man ; 
much more of a Roman ; yet that odious religion in the 
event became the creed of countless millions. What 
philosophers so spontaneously and instinctively con- 
demned has been professed by the profoundest and 
the noblest of men, through eighteen centuries ; — so 
possible is it for our First Principles to be but the 
opinions of a multitude, not truths. 

Now be quite sure, my Brothers, that I make clear 
to you the point on which I am animadverting in these 
instances. I am not blaming Cato and his countrymen 
for using their First Principles, whatever they were, 
while they believed them : every one must use such 
opinions as he has ; there is nothing else to be done. 
What I should blame in them would be their utterly 
despising another system with which they did not 
sympathise, and being so sure that they were right 5 
their forgetting that the Christians might have First 
Principles as well as they, "and opposite ones; their 
forgetting that it was a question of First Principles ; 
that the contest was not ended — that it had not begun. 
They viewed Christianity with disgust, at first sight. 
They were repelled, thrown back, they revolted from 
the Religion, and they took that mere feeling of theirs 


290 Assumed Principles the Intellectual 

as an evidence tliat the Eeligion really was wrong and 
immoral. No, it only showed that either the Religion 
or they were wrong, which of the two had still to be 
determined. Christians had their First Principles 
also; ''blessed are the meek," " blessed are the per- 
secuted," " blessed are the pure-hearted." These First 
Principles the Pagans had no right to ignore. They 
chose to apply their own First Principles, as decisive 
tests, to the examination of the precepts and practice 
of the Church, and by means of them they condemned 
her ; but if they had applied Christian principles as the 
measure of her precepts and her practice, they would, 
on the contrary, have been forced to praise her. All 
depends on which set of principles you begin by 

The same thing takes place now. A dispassionate 
thinker is struck with the beauty and the eloquence of 
the rites and ceremonies of the Catholic Church ; he 
likes to be present at them, but he says they are 
addressed of course only to the imagination, not to the 
reason. They are indefensible in the eye of reason. 
What does he mean ? Why this, when he explains 
himself: — he says he cannot understand how the 
Divine Being needs propitiating — is He not good? 
what can be the use of these ceremonies? why, too, 
such continual prayer ? why try to get others to pray 
for you too, and for your object, whatever it is ? what 
the use of novenas ? why betake yourselves to saints ? 
what can they do for you ? So he might go on, speak- 
ing against the whole system of deprecatory and inter- 
cessory prayer, and we might be grieved and perplexed 
at such a line of thought in so candid a man, and we 

Ground of the Protestant View. 291 

should ask ourselves how it came to be. Now if it 
turned out at length that the said critic disbelieved the 
virtue of prayer altogether, or that the Divine Being 
was really moved by it, or that it was of any good what- 
ever beyond the peace and sereneness which the exercise 
poured over the soul, I think you would consider that 
this fact quite explained those criticisms of his which 
distressed you ; you would feel that it was nugatory to 
argue points of detail with one, who, however candid, 
differed from you in principle ; and, while you would 
not quarrel with him for having his own First Prin- 
ciples (seriously as you thought of them theologically), 
your immediate charge against him would be that he 
had forgotten that a Catholic has First Principles too, 
and forgotten also that we have as much right to have 
our theory of prayer as he to have his own. His sur- 
prise and offence constitute no proof even to himself 
that we are wrong ; they only show, that, as we have 
our First Principles, which we consider true, but which 
are not capable of proof, so has he his. The previous 
question remains — Which set of principles is true? 
He is a theorist, using his theory against our practice, 
as if our practice might not have its own theory also. 
But, in fact, he does not dream that we have any intel- 
lectual principles whatever as the basis of what we do : 
he thinks he is the only intellectual man ; he has 
mind on his side, it never came into our heads to have 
it ; we do not know what mind is. Thus he imagines 
and determines, knowing nothing whatever of our acute, 
profound, subtle philosophers, except by name, and 
ridding himself of the trouble of reading their works 
by nicknaming them schoolmen or monks. 

292 Assumed Principles the Intellectual 


Now I have come to tlie point at which the main- 
tenance of private opinion runs into bigotry. As Pre- 
judice is the rejection of reason altogether, so Bigotry 
is the imposition of private reason, — that is, of onr 
own views and theories, of our own First Principles, as 
if they were the absolute truth, and the standard of all 
argument, investigation, and judgment. If there are 
any men in the world who ought to abstain from 
bigotry, it is Protestants. They, whose very badge is 
the right of private judgment, should give as well as 
take, should allow others what they claim themselves ; 
but I am sorry to say, as I have had occasion to say 
again and again, there is very little of the spirit of 
reciprocity among them; they monopolise a liberty 
which, when they set out, they professed was to be for 
the benefit of all parties. Not even the intellectual, 
not even the candid-minded among them, are free from 
inconsistency here. They begin by setting up prin- 
ciples of thought and action for themselves ; then, not 
content with applying them to their own thoughts and 
actions, they make them the rule for criticising and 
condemning our thoughts and actions too ; this, I 
repeat, is Bigotry. Bigotry is the infliction of our own 
unproved First Principles on others, and the treating 
others with scorn or hatred for not accepting them. 
There are principles, indeed, as I have already said, 
such as the First Principles of morals, not peculiar or 
proper to the individual, but the rule of the world, 
because they come from the Author of our being, and 
from no private factory of man. It is not bigotry to 

Grou7id of the Protestant View. 293 

despise intemperance ; it is not bigotry to hate injustice 
or cruelty ; but whatever is local, or national, or sectional, 
or personal, or novel, and nothing more, to make that 
the standard of judging all existing opinions, without an 
attempt at proving it to be of authority, is mere ridicu- 
lous bigotry. " In necessariis unitas, in dubiis lihertas^'' 
is ever the rule of a true philosopher. And though I 
know in many cases it is very difficult to draw the line, 
and to decide what principles are, and what are not, 
independent of individuals, times and places, eternal 
and divine, yet so far we may safely assert, — that 
when the very persons who hold certain views, confess, 
nay, boast, nay, are jealously careful, that those views 
come of their own private judgment, they at least 
should be as jealous and as careful to keep them to 
their own place, and not to use them as if they came 
distinctly from heaven, or from the nature of things, or 
from the nature of man. Those persons, surely, are 
precluded, if they would be consistent, from using their 
principles as authoritative, who proclaim that they 
made them for themselves. Protestants, then, if any 
men alive, are, on their own showing, bigots, if they 
set up their First Principles as oracles, and as stan- 
dards of all truth. 

This being considered, have we not, my Brothers, 
a curious sight before us ? This is what we call an 
enlightened age : we are to have large views of things ; 
everything is to be put on a philosophical basis ; reason 
is to rule ; the world is to begin again ; a new and 
transporting set of views is about to be exhibited to the 
great human family. Well and good; have them, 
preach them, enjoy them, but deign to recollect the 

294 Assumed Principles the Intellectual 

while, that there have been views in the world before 
you : that the world has not been going on up to this 
day without any principles whatever ; that the Old 
Religion was based on principles, and that it is not 
enough to flourish about your " new lamps," if you 
would make us give up our " old" ones. Catholicism, 
I say, had its First Principles before you were born : 
you say they are false : very well, prove them to be so : 
they are false, indeed, if yours are true ; but not false 
merely because yours are yours. While yours are yours 
it is self-evident, indeed, to you, that ours are false ; 
but it is not the common way of carrying on business 
in the world, to value English goods by French 
measures, or to pay a debt in paper which was con- 
tracted in gold. Catholicism has its First Principles , 
overthrow them, if you can ; endure them, if you can- 
not. It is not enough to call them effete, because they 
are old, or antiquated because they are ancient. It is 
not enough to look into our churches, and cry, " It is 
all a form, because divine favour cannot depend on 
external observances ; " or, " It is all a bondage, because 
there is no such thing as sin ; " or, "a blasphemy, 
because the Supreme Being cannot be present in cere- 
monies ; " or, " a mummery, because prayer cannot move 
Him ; " or, "a tyranny, because vows are unnatural ; " 
or, "hypocrisy, because no rational man can credit it at 
all." I say here is endless assumption, unmitigated 
hypothesis, reckless assertion : prove your " because," 
" because," '' because ; " prove your First Principles, 
and if you cannot, learn philosophic moderation. Why 
may not my First Principles contest the prize with 
yours ? they have been longer in the world, they have 

Ground of the Protestant View. 295 

lasted longer, they have done harder work, they have 
seen rougher service. You sit in your easy-chairs, you 
dogmatise in your lecture-rooms, you wield your pens : 
it all looks well on paper : you write exceedingly well : 
there never was an age in which there was better writ- 
ing; logical, nervous, eloquent, and pure, — go and 
carry it all out in the world. Take your First Prin- 
ciples, of which you are so proud, into the crowded 
streets of our cities, into the formidable classes which 
make up the bulk of our population ; try to work society 
by them. You think you can ; I say you cannot — at 
least you have not as yet ; it is yet to be seen if you 
can. " Let not him that putteth on his armour boast 
as he who taketh it off." Do not take it for granted 
that that is certain which is waiting the test of reason 
and experiment. Be modest until you are victorious. 
My principles, which I believe to be eternal, have at 
least lasted eighteen hundred years ; let yours live as 
many months. That man can sin, that he has duties, 
that the Divine Being hears prayer, that He gives His 
favours through visible ordinances, that He is really 
present in the midst of them, these principles have 
been the life of nations ; they have shown they could 
be carried out ; let any single nation carry out yours, 
and you will have better claim to speak contemp- 
tuously of Catholic rites, of Catholic devotions, of 
Catholic belief. 

What is all this but the very state of mind which we 
ridicule, and call narrowness, in the case of those who 
have never travelled ? We call them, and rightly, men 
of contracted ideas, who cannot fancy things going on 
differently from what they have themselves witnessed 

296 Assumed Principles the Intellectual 

at home, and laugh at everything because it is strange. 
They themselves are the pattern-men ; their height, 
their dress, their manners, their food, their language, 
are all founded in the nature of things ; and everything 
else is good or bad, just in that very degree in which it 
partakes, or does not partake, of them. All men ought 
to get up at half-past eight, breakfast between nine 
and ten, read the, newspapers, lunch, take a ride or 
drive, dine. Here is the great principle of the day — 
dine ; no one is a man who does not dine ; yes, dine, 
and at the right hour ; and it must he a dinner, with a 
certain time after dinner, and then, in due time, to bed. 
Tea and toast, port wine, roast beef; mincepies at 
Christmas, lamb at Easter, goose at Michaelmas, these 
are their great principles. They suspect any one who 
does otherwise. Figs and maccaroni for the day's fare, 
or Burgundy and grapes for breakfast ! — they are aghast 
at the atrocity of the notion. And hence you read of 
some good country gentleman, who, on undertaking a 
Continental tour, was warned of the privations and 
mortifications that lay before him from the difference 
between foreign habits and his own, stretching his 
imagination to a point of enlargement answerable to the 
occasion, and making reply that he knew it, that he 
had dwelt upon the idea, that he had made up his mind 
to it, and thought himself prepared for anything abroad, 
provided he could but bargain for a clean tablecloth 
and a good beef-steak every day. 

Here was a man of one idea ; there are many men of 
one idea in the world: your unintellectual machine, who 
eats, drinks, and sleeps, is a man of one idea. Such, 
too, is your man of genius, who strikes out some new, 

Ground of the Protestant View. 297 

or revives some old view in science or in art, and would 
apply it as a sort of specific or as a key to all possible 
subjects ; and who will not let the world alone, but 
loads it with bad names if it will not run after him 
and his darling fancy, if it will not cure all its com- 
plaints by chemistry or galvanism, by little doses or 
great, if it will not adopt the peaked shoes of Edward 
III., or the steeple hats of the Puritans. Such again 
are those benevolent persons who, with right intentions, 
but yet, I think, narrow views, wish to introduce the 
British constitution and British ideas into every nation 
and tribe upon earth ; differing, how much-! from the 
wise man in the Greek epic, whose characteristic was 
that he was "versatile,"* for he had known "the 
cities and the mind of many men." History and travel 
expand our views of man and of society ; they teach us 
that distinct principles rule in different countries and 
in distinct periods ; and, though they do not teach us 
that all principles are equally true, or, which is the 
same thing, that none are either true or false, yet they 
do teach us, that all are to be regarded with attention 
and examined with patience, which have prevailed to 
any great extent among mankind. Such is the temper 
of a man of the world, of a philosopher. He may hold 
principles to be false and dangerous, but he will try to 
enter into them, to enter into the minds of those who 
hold them ; he will consider in what their strength lies, 
and what can be said for them ; he will do his best to 
analyze and dissect them ; he will compare them with 
others ; and he will apply himself to the task of expos- 
ing and disproving them. He will not ignore them ; — 

* IIo\i/r/)oxos. 

298 Assumed Principles the Intellectual 

now, what I desiderate at the present day in so many- 
even candid men, and of course much more in the 
multitude which is uncandid, is a recognition that 
Catholics have principles of their own ; I desiderate a 
study of those principles, a fair representation, a refuta- 
tion. It is not enough that this age has its principles 
too ; this does not prove them true ; it has no right to 
put ours on one side, and proceed to make its own the 
immediate touchstones and the sufficient tribunals of 
our creed, our worship, our ecclesiastical proceedings, 
and our moral teaching. 


To show in how very many instances these remarks 
apply to the criticisms and judgments passed by Protest- 
ants upon the details of Catholic teaching and belief, 
is simply impossible, on such an occasion as this. It 
would be to write a book. I will take one instance, 
but even to that I cannot hope to do full justice ; but 
it will be something to have drawn your attention to 
what seems to me an important line of thought, and to 
the mode of using it in the controversy in which we are 

I will take, then, one of those subjects, of which I 
spoke in the opening of this Lecture as offensive to 
Protestants — viz., our belief in the miracles wrought 
by the relics and the prayers of the saints, which has 
given both occasion and scope to so many reports and 
narratives to their honour, true, doubtful, or unfounded, 
in the Catholic Church. I suppose there is nothing 
which prejudices us more in the minds of Protestants 
of all classes than this belief. They inspect our 
churches, or th6y attend to our devotions, or they hear 

Ground of the Protestant View. 299 

our sermons, or thej open our books, or they read para- 
graphs in the newspapers ; and it is one and the same 
story — relics and miracles. Such a belief, such a claim, 
they consider a self-evident absurdity ; they are too 
indignant even to laugh ; they toss the book from them 
in the fulness of anger and contempt, and they think 
it superfluous to make one remark in order to convict 
us of audacious imposture, and to iix upon us the brand 
of indelible shame. I shall show, then, that this strong 
feeling arises simply from their assumption of a First 
Principle, which ought to be proved, if they would be 
honest reasoners, before it is used to our disadvantage. 
You observe, my Brothers, we are now upon a certain 
question of controversy, in which the argument is not 
directly about fact. This is what I noticed in the 
opening of this Lecture. We accuse our enemies of 
untruth in most cases ; we do not accuse them, on the 
whole, of untruth here. I know it is very difficult for 
prejudice such as theirs to open its mouth at all without 
some mis-statement or exaggeration ; still, on the 
whole, they do bear true, not false witness in the matter 
of miracles. We do certainly abound, we are exuberant, 
we overflow with stories which cause our enemies, from 
no fault of ours, the keenest irritation, and kindle in 
them the most lively resentment against us. Certainly 
the Catholic Church, from east to west, from north to 
south, is, according to our conceptions, hung with 
miracles. The store of relics is inexhaustible ; they 
are multiplied through all lands, and each particle of 
each has in it at least a dormant, perhaps an energetic 
virtue of supernatural operation. At Rome there is the 
True Cross, the crib of Bethlehem, and the chair of St 

300 Assumed Principles the Intellectual 

Peter; portions of the crown of thorns are kept at 
Paris ; the holy coat is shown at Treves ; the winding- 
sheet at Turin ; at Monza, the iron crown is formed out 
of a Nail of the cross ; and another Nail is claimed for 
the Duomo of Milan ; and pieces of our Lady's habit 
are to be seen in the Escurial. The Agnus Dei, blessed 
medals, the scapular, the cord of St Francis, all are the 
medium of divine manifestations and graces. Crucifixes 
have bowed the head to the suppliant, and Madonnas 
have bent their eyes upon assembled crowds. St 
Januarius's blood liquefies periodically at Naples, and 
St Winifred's well is the scene of wonders even in an 
unbelieving country. Women are marked with the 
sacred stigmata ; blood has flowed on Fridays from their 
five wounds, and their heads are crowned with a circle 
of lacerations. Relics are ever touching the sick, the 
diseased, the wounded, sometimes with no result at all, 
at other times with marked and undeniable efficacy. 
Who has not heard of the abundant favours gained by 
the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, and of the 
marvellous consequences which have attended the 
invocation of St Antony of Padua ? These phenomena 
are sometimes reported of Saints in their life-time, as 
well as after death, especially if they were evangelists 
or martyrs. The wild beasts crouched before their 
victims in the Eoman amphitheatre ; the axe-man was 
unable to sever St Cecilia's head from her body, and St 
Peter elicited a spring of water for his jailor's baptism 
in the Mamertine. St Francis Xavier turned salt water 
into fresh for five hundred travellers ; St Raymond was 
transported over the sea on his cloak ; St Andrew shone 
brightly in the dark; St Scholastica gained by her 

Ground of the Protestant View. 301 

prayers a pouring rain ; St Paul was fed by ravens ; and 
St Frances saw lier guardian Angel. I need not continue 
the catalogue; liere what one party urges, the other 
admits ; they join issue over a fact ; that fact is the 
claim of miracles on the part of the Catholic Church ; 
it is the Protestants' charge, and it is our glory. 

Observe then, we aflfirm that the Supreme Being has 
wrought miracles on earth ever since the time of the 
Apostles : Protestants deny it. Why do we affirm, why 
do they deny ? we affirm it on a First Principle, they 
deny it on a First Principle ; and on either side the 
First Principle is made to be decisive of the question. 
Our First Principle is contradictory of theirs : if theirs 
be true, we are mistaken ; if ours be true, they are 
mistaken. They take for granted that their First 
Principle is true ; we take for granted that our First 
Principle is true. Till ours is disproved, we have as 
much right to consider it true as they to consider theirs 
true ; till theirs is proved, they have as little ground 
for saying that we go against reason, as for boasting 
that they go according to it. For our First Principle 
is our reason, in the same sense in which theirs is their 
reason, and it is quite as good a reason. Both they 
and we start with the miracles of the Apostles ; * and 
then their First Principle or presumption, against our 
miracles, is this, " What God did once, He is not likely 
to do again ; " while our First Principle or presumption, 
for our miracles, is this, " What God did once, He is 
likely to do again." They say, It cannot be supposed 

* I am arguing with Protestants ; if unbelievers are supposed, then 
they use virtually Hume's celebrated argument, which still is a Pre- 
sumption or First Principle — viz., it is impossible to fancy the order of 
nature interrupted. 

302 Assumed Principles the Intellectual 

He will work many miracles; we, It cannot be sup- 
posed He will work yew. 

I am not aiming at any mere sharp or clever stroke 
against tliem ; I wish to be serious, and to investigate 
the real state of the case, and I feel what I am saying 
very strongly. Protestants say, miracles are not likely 
to occur often ; we say they are likely to occur often. 
The two parties, you see, start with contradictory 
principles, and they determine the particular miracles, 
which are the subject of dispute, by their respective 
principles, without looking to such testimony as may 
be brought in their favour. They do not say, " St 
Francis, or St Antony, or St Philip Neri did no 
miracles, for the evidence for them is worth nothing," or, 
"because what looked like a miracle was not a miracle; " 
no, but they say, "It is impossible they should have 
wrought miracles." Bring before the Protestant the 
largest mass of evidence and testimony in proof of 
the miraculous liquefaction of St Januarius's blood at 
Naples, let him be urged by witnesses of the highest 
character, chemists of the first fame, circumstances the 
most favourable for the detection of imposture, coinci- 
dences, and confirmations the most close and minute 
and indirect, he will not believe it ; his First Principle 
Mocks belief. On the other hand diminish the evidence 
ever so much, provided you leave some, and reduce the 
number of witnesses and circumstantial proof ; yet you 
would not altogether wean the Catholic's mind from 
belief in it; for his First Principle encourages such belief. 
Would any amount of evidence convince the Protestant 
of the miraculous motion of a Madonna's eyes ? is it 
not to him in itself, prior to proof, simply incredible ? 

Ground of the Protestant View. 303 

would lie even listen to the proof? His First Principle 
settles the matter; no wonder then that the whole - 
histor)^ of Catholicism finds so little response in his 
intellect or sympathy in his heart. It is as impossible 
that the notion of the miracle should gain admittance 
into his imagination, as for a lighted candle to remain 
burning, when dipped into a vessel of water. The 
water puts it out. 

The Protestant, I say, laughs at the very idea of 
miracles or supernatural acts as occurring at this 
day ; his First Principle is rooted in him ; he repels 
from him the idea of miracles ; he laughs at the notion 
of evidence for them ; one is just as likely as another ; 
they are all false. Why ? Because of his First Principle : 
there are no miracles since the Apostles. Here, indeed, 
is a short and easy way of getting rid of the whole sub- 
ject, not by reason, but by a First Principle which he 
calls reason. Yes, it is reason, granting his First 
Principle is true ; it is not reason, supposing his First 
Principle is false. It is reason, if the private judgment 
of an individual, or of a sect, or of a philosophy, or of 
a nation, be synonymous with reason; it is not reason, 
if reason is something not local, nor temporal, but uni- 
versal. Before he advances a step in his argument, he 
ought to prove his First Principle true ; he does not 
attempt to do so, he takes it for granted ; and he pro- 
ceeds to apply it, gratuitous, personal, peculiar, as it is, to 
all our accounts of miracles taken together, and thereupon 
and thereby triumphantly rejects them all. This, forsooth, 
is his spontaneous judgment, his instinctive feeling, his 
common sense, — a mere private opinion of his own, 

304 Assumed Principles the Intellectual 

a Protestant opinion ; a lecture-room opinion ; not a 
world-wide opinion, not an instinct ranging through 
time and space, but an assumption and presump- 
tion, which, by education and habit, he has got to 
think as certain, as much of an axiom, as that two and 
two make four ; and he looks down upon us, and bids 
us consider ourselves beaten, all because the savour of 
our statements and narratives and reports and legends 
is inconsistent with his delicate Protestant sense, — 
all because our conclusions are different, not from our 
principles and premisses, but from his. 

And now for the structure he proceeds to raise on 
this foundation of sand. If, he argues, in matter of 
fact, there be a host of stories about relics and miracles 
circulated in the Catholic Church, which, as a matter 
of First Principle, cannot be true ; to what must we 
attribute them ? indubitably to enormous stupidity on 
the one hand, and enormous roguery on the other. 
This, observe, is an immediate and close inference : — 
clever men must see through the superstition ; those 
who do not see through it must be dolts. • Further, 
since religion is the subject-matter of the alleged 
fictions, they must be what are called pious frauds, for 
the sake of gain and power. Observe, my Brothers, 
there is in the Church a vast tradition and testimony 
about miracles ; how is it to be accounted for? If 
miracles can take place, then the truth of the miracle 
will be a natural explanation of the report, just as the 
fact of a man dying satisfactorily accounts for the news 
that he is dead ; but the Protestant cannot so explain 
it, because he thinks miracles cannot take place ; so he 
is necessarily driven, by way of accounting for the report 

Ground of the Protestant View. 305 

of them, to impute tliat report to fraud. He cannot 
help himself. I repeat it ; the whole mass of accusa- 
tions which Protestants bring against us under this 
head, Catholic credulity, imposture, pious frauds, 
liypocrisy, priestcraft, this vast and varied superstruc- 
ture of imputation, you see, all rests on an assumption, 
on an opinion of theirs, for which they offer no kind of 
I^roof. What then, in fact, do they say more than this. 
If Protestantism be true, you Catholics are a most awful 
set of knaves ? — Here, at least, is a most intelligible 
and undeniable position. 

Now, on the other hand, let me take our own side 
of the question, and consider how we ourselves stand 
relatively to the charge made against us. Catholics, 
then, hold the mystery of the Incarnation ; and the 
Incarnation is the most stupendous event which ever 
can take place on earth ; and after it and henceforth, I 
do not see how we can scruple at any miracle on 
the mere ground of its being unlikely to happen. No 
miracle can be so great as that which took place in the 
Holy House of Nazareth ; it is indefinitely more diffi- 
cult to believe than all the miracles of the Breviary, of 
the Martyrology, of Saints' lives, of legends, of local 
traditions, put together ; and there is the grossest 
inconsistency on the very face of the matter, for any 
one so to strain out the gnat and to swallow the camel, 
as to profess what is inconceivable, yet to protest 
against what is surely within the limits of intelligible 
hypothesis. If, through divine grace, we once are able 
to accept the solemn truth that the Supreme Being was 
born of a mortal woman, what is there to be imagined 
which can offend us on the ground of its marvellous- 



06 Asstivied Principles the hitellectual 

ness ? Thus, you see, it happens that, though First 
Principles are commonly assumed, not proved, ours in 
this case admits, if not of proof, yet of recommendation, 
by means of that fundamental truth which Protestants 
profess as well as we. When we start with assuming 
that miracles are not unlikely, we are putting forth a 
position which lies imbedded, as it were, and involved, 
in the great revealed fact of the Incarnation. 

So much is plain on starting ; but more is plain too. 
Miracles are not only not unlikely, they are positively 
likely ; and for this simple reason, because, for the most 
part, when God begins He goes on. We conceive that 
when He first did a miracle. He began a series ; what 
He commenced. He continued : what has been, will be. 
Surely this is good and clear reasoning. To my own 
mind, certainly, it is incomparably more difficult to 
believe that the Divine Being should do one miracle and 
no more, than that He should do a thousand ; that He 
should do one great miracle only, than that He should 
do a multitude of less besides. This beautiful world of 
nature. His own work. He broke its harmony ; He 
broke through His own laws which He had imposed on 
it ; He worked out His purposes, not simply through it 
but in violation of it. If He did this only in the life- 
time of the Apostles, if He did it but once, eighteen 
hundred years ago and more, that isolated infringe- 
ment looks as the mere infringement of a rule : if Divine 
Wisdom would not leave an infringement, an anomaly, 
a solecism on His work. He might be expected to intro- 
duce a series of miracles, and turn the apparent excep- 
tion into an additional law of His providence. If the 
Divine Being does a thing once. He is, judging by 

Ground of the Protestant View. 307 

human reason, likely to do it again. This surely is 
common sense. If a beggar gets food at a gentleman's 
house once, does he not send others thither after him ? 
If you are attacked by thieves once, do you forthwith leave 
your windows open at night ? If an acquaintance were 
convicted of a fraud, would you let that be the signal 
for reposing confidence in him, as a man who could not 
possibly deceive you? Nay, suppose you yourselves 
were once to see a miracle, would you not feel that 
experience to be like passing a line ? should you, in 
consequence of it, declare, " I never will believe another 
if I hear of one ?" would it not, on the contrary, pre- 
dispose you to listen to a new report ? would you scoff 
at it and call it priestcraft for the reason that you had 
actually seen one with your own eyes ? I think you ' 
would not ; then I ask what is the difference of the I 
argument, whether you have seen one or believe one ? | 
You believe the Apostolic miracles, therefore be inclined \ 
beforehand to believe later ones. Thus you see, our [ 
First Principle, that miracles are not unlikely now, is | 
not at all a strange one in the mouths of those who ( 
believe that the Supreme Being came miraculously into \ 
this world, miraculously united Himself to man's nature, \ 
passed a life of miracles, and then gave His Apostles a 
greater gift of miracles than He exercised Himself. So 
far on the principle itself; and now, in the next place, 
see what comes of it. 

This comes of it, — that there are two systems going 
on in the world, one of nature, and one above nature ; 
and two histories, one of common events, and one of 
miracles ; and each system and each history has its 
own order. When I hear of the miracle of a Saint, my 

3o8 Assumed Principles the Intellectual 

first feeling would be of the same kind as if it were a 
report of any natural exploit or event. Supposing, for 
instance, I heard a report of the death of some public 
man ; it would not startle me, even if I did not at once 
credit it, for all men must die. Did I read of any great 
feat of valour, I should believe it, if imputed to Alex- 
ander or Coeur de Lion. Did I hear of any act of base- 
ness, I should disbelieve it, if imputed to a friend whom 
I knew and loved. And so, in like manner, were a 
miracle reported to me as wrought by a member of 
Parliament, or a Bishop of the Establishment, or a 
Wesleyan preacher, I should repudiate the notion: 
were it referred to a saint, or the relic of a saint, or the 
intercession of a saint, I should not be startled at it, 
though I might not at once believe it. And I certainly 
should be right in this conduct, supposing my First 
Principle be true. Miracles to the Catholic are facts 
of history and biography, and nothing else ; and they 
are to be regarded and dealt with as other facts ; and 
as natural facts, under circumstances, do not startle 
Protestants, so supernatural, under circumstances, do 
not startle the Catholic* They may or may not have 
taken place in particular cases ; he may be unable to 
determine which ; he may have no distinct evidence ; 
he may suspend his judgment, but he will say, " It is 
very possible;" he never will say, "I cannot believe it." 
Take the history of Alfred : you know his wise, mild, 

* Douglas, succeeding Middleton, lays down the sceptical and Pro- 
testant First Principle thus : " The history of miracles (to make use of 
the words of an author, whose authority you will think of some weight) 
is of a kind totally different from that of common events ; the one to be 
suspected always of course, without the strongest evidence to confirm it ; 
the other to be admitted of course, without as strong reason to suspect it, " 
&c. — Criterion, p. 26. 

Growid of the Protestant View. 309 

beneficent, yet daring character, and his romantic 
vicissitudes of fortune. This great king has a number 
of stories, or, as you may call them, legends, told of 
him. Do you believe them all ? no. Do you, on the 
other hand, think them incredible ? no. Do you call 
a man a dupe or a blockhead for believing them ? no. 
Do you call an author a knave and a cheat who records 
them ? no. You go into neither extreme, whether of 
implicit faith or of violent reprobation. You are not 
so extravagant ; you see that they suit his character, 
they may have been ; yet this is so romantic, that has 
so little evidence, a third is so confused in dates or in 
geography, that you are in matter of fact indisposed 
towards them. Others are probably true, others cer- 
tainly. Nor do you force every one to take your own 
view of particular stories ; you and your neighbours 
think differently about this or that in detail, and agree 
to differ. There is in the Museum at Oxford, a jewel 
or trinket said to be Alfred's ; it is shown to all comers : 
I never heard the keeper of the Museum accused of 
hypocrisy or fraud for showing, with Alfred's name 
appended, what he might or might not himself believe 
to have belonged to that great king : nor did I ever see 
any party of strangers, who were looking at it with awe, 
regarded by any self-complacent bystander with scornful 
compassion. Yet the relic is not to a certainty Alfred's. 
The world pays civil honour to it on the probability ; 
we pay religious honour to relics, if so be, on the 
probability. Is the Tower of London shut against 
sightseers, because the coats of mail or pikes there may 
have half legendary tales connected with them ? why 
then may not the country people come up in joyous 

3 1 o Assumed Principles the Intellechial 

companies, singing and piping, to see the Holy Coat 
at Treves ? There is our Queen again, who is so truly 
and justly popular ; she roves about in the midst of 
tradition and romance ; she scatters myths and legends 
from her as she goes along ; she is a being of poetry, 
and you might fairly be sceptical whether she had any 
personal existence. She is always at some beautiful, 
noble, bounteous work or other, if you trust the papers. 
She is doing almsdeeds in the Highlands ; she meets 
beggars in her rides at Windsor ; she writes verses in 
albums, or draws sketches, or is mistaken for the house- 
keeper by some blind old woman, or she runs up a hill, 
as if she were a child. Who finds fault with these 
things ? he would be a cynic, he would be white-livered, 
and would have gall for blood, who was not struck 
with this graceful, touching evidence of the love which 
her subjects bear her. Who could have the head, even 
if he had the heart, who could be so cross and peevish, 
who could be so solemn and perverse, as to say that 
some of these stories may be simple lies, and all of 
them might have stronger evidence than they carry with 
them? Do you think she is displeased at them? Why, 
then, should He, the Great Father, who once walked the 
earth, look sternly on the unavoidable mistakes of His 
own subjects and children in their devotion to Him and 
His? Even granting they mistake some cases in 
particular, from the infirmity of human nature, and the 
contingencies of evidence, and fancy there is or has 
been a miracle here or there when there is not ; — 
though a tradition, attached to a picture, or to a shrine, 
or to a well, be very doubtful ; — though one relic be 
sometimes mistaken for another, and St Theodore stands 

Gi'ound of the Protestant View. 3 1 1 

for St Eugenius, or St Agathocles ; — still, once take 
into account our First Principle, that He is likely to 
continue miracles among us, which is as good as the 
Protestant's, and I do not see why He should feel much 
displeasure with us on account of this error, or should 
cease to work wonders in our behalf. In the Protes- 
tant's view, indeed, who assumes that miracles never 
are, our thaumatology is one great falsehood ; but that 
is his First Principle, as I have said so often, which he 
does not prove but assume. If he^ indeed, upheld our 
system, or rce held his principle, in either case he or we 
should be impostors ; but though we should be partners 
to a fraud, if we thought like Protestants, we surely 
are not, because we think like Catholics. 

Such, then, is the answer which I make to those who 
would urge against us the multitude of miracles 
recorded in our Saints' Lives and devotional works, for 
many of which there is little evidence, and for some 
next to none. We think them true in the sense in which 
Protestants think the details of English history true. 
When they say that, they do not mean to say there are 
no mistakes in it, but no mistakes of consequence, none 
which alter the general course of history. Nor do they 
mean they are equally sure of every part ; for evidence 
is fuller and better for some things than for others. 
They do not stake their credit on the truth of Froissart 
or Sully, they do not pledge themselves for the accuracy 
of Doddington or Walpole, they do not embrace as an 
Evangelist, Hume, Sharon Turner, or Macaulay. And 
yet they do not think it necessary, on the other hand, 
to commence a religious war against all our historical 

312 Assumed Principles the Intellectual 

catechisms, and abstracts, and dictionaries, and tales, 
and biograpliies, through the country ; they have no 
call on them to amend and expurgate books of arche- 
ology, antiquities, heraldry, architecture, geography, 
and statistics, to rewrite our inscriptions, and to estab- 
lish a censorship on all new publications for the time 
to come. And so as regards the miracles of the Catholic 
Church ; if, indeed, miracles never can occur, then, 
indeed, impute the narratives to fraud ; but till you 
prove they are not likely, we shall consider the histories 
which have come down to us true on the whole, though 
in particular cases they may be exaggerated or unfounded. 
Where, indeed, they can certainly be proved to be false, 
there we shall be bound to do our best to get rid of 
them ; but till that is clear, we shall be liberal enough 
to allow others to use their private judgment in their 
favour, as we use ours in their disparagement. For 
myself, lest I appear in any way to be shrinking from 
a determinate judgment on the claims of some of those 
miracles and relics, which Protestants are so startled 
at, and to be hiding particular questions in what is 
vague and general, I will avow distinctly, that, putting 
out of the question the hypothesis of unknown laws of 
nature (that is, of the professed miracle being not 
miraculous), I think it impossible to withstand the 
evidence which is brought for the liquefaction of the 
blood of St Januarius at Naples, and for the motion of 
the eyes of the pictures of the Madonna in the Roman 
States. I see no reason to doubt the material of the 
Lombard crown at Monza ; and I do not see why the 
Holy Coat at Treves may not have been what it pro- 
fesses to be. I firmly believe that portions of the True 

Ground of the Protestant View. 313 

Cross are at Rome and elsewhere, that the Crib of 
Bethlehem is at Rome, and the bodies of St Peter and 
St Paul also. I believe that at Rome too lies St 
Stephen, that St Matthew lies at Salerno, and St 
Andrew at Amalfi. I firmly believe that the relics of 
the saints are doing innumerable miracles and graces 
daily, and that it needs only for a Catholic to show 
devotion to any saint in order to receive special benefits 
from his intercession. I firmly believe that saints in 
their life-time have before now raised the dead to life, 
crossed the sea without vessels, multiplied grain and 
bread, cured incurable diseases, and superseded the opera- 
tion of the laws of the universe in a multitude of ways. 
Many men, when they hear an educated man so speak, 
will at once impute the avowal to insanity, or to an 
idiosyncrasy, or to imbecility of mind, or to decrepitude 
of powers, or to fanaticism, or to hypocrisy. They 
have a right to say so, if they will ; and we have a right 
to ask them why they do not say it of those who bow 
down before the Mystery of mysteries, the Divine 
Incarnation. If they do not believe this, they are not 
yet Protestants ; if they do, let them grant that He 
who has done the greater may do the less.* 

And now. Brothers of the Oratory, I have come to 
the end of a somewhat uninteresting, but a necessary 
discussion. Your lot is cast in the world ; you are not 
gathered together, as we are, into the home and under 
the shadow of St Philip ; you mix with men of all 
opinions. Where you see prejudice, there, indeed, it 
is no use to argue ; prejudice thinks its first prin- 

* Yidt Note 2 at the end of the volume. 

314 Assumed Principles, cfc. 

ciples self-evident. It can tell falsehoods to onr 
dishonour by the score, yet suddenly it is so jealous of 
truth, as to be shocked at legends in honour of the 
saints. With prejudiced persons then, you will make 
no way ; they will not look the question in the face ; 
if they condescend to listen for a moment to your 
arguments, it is in order to pick holes in them, not to 
ascertain their drift or to estimate their weight. But 
there are others of a different stamp, of whom I spoke 
in the opening of this Lecture, candid, amiable minds, 
who wish to think well of our doctrines and devotions, 
but stumble at them. When you meet with such, ask 
them whether they are not taking their own principles 
and opinions for granted, and whether all they have to 
say against us is not contained in the proposition with 
which they start. Entreat them to consider how they 
know their existing opinions to be true ; whether they 
are innate and necessary ; whether they are not local, 
national, or temporary ; whether they have ever spread 
over the earth, ever held nations together; whether 
they have ever or often done a great thing. If they say 
that penances are absurd, or images superstitious, or 
infallibility impossible, or sacraments mere charms, or 
a priesthood priestcraft, get them to put their ideas 
into shape and to tell you their reasons for them. Trace 
up their philosophy for them, as you have traced up 
their tradition ; the fault lies in the root ; every step 
of it is easy but the first. Perhaps you will make them 
Catholics by this process ; at least you will make them 
perceive what they believe and what they do not, and 
will teach them to be more tolerant of a Religion which 
unhappily they do not see their way to embrace. 




"VrOU may have asked yourselves, Brothers of the 
Oratory, why it was that, in exposing, as I did 
last week, the shallowness of the philosophy on which 
our opponents erect their structure of argument against 
us, I did not take, as my illustration, an instance far 
more simple and ready to my hand than that to which 
I actually directed your attention. It was my object, 
on that occasion, to show that Protestants virtually 
assume the point in debate between them and us, in any 
particular controversy, in the very principles with 
which they set out; that those first principles, for 
which they offer no proof, involve their conclusions ; so 
that, if we are betrayed into the inadvertence of passing 
them over without remark, we are forthwith defeated 
and routed, even before we have begun to move forward 
to the attack, as might happen to cavalry who 
manoeuvred on a swamp, or to a guerilla force which 

3 1 6 Ignorance Concerning Catholics the 

ventured on the open plain. Protestants and Catholics 
each, have their own ground, and cannot engage on 
any other ; the question in dispute between them is 
more elementary than men commonly suppose ; it 
relates to the ground itself, on which the battle is 
legitimately and rightfully to be fought; the first prin- 
ciples assumed in the starting of the controversy deter- 
mine the issue. Protestants in fact do but say that 
we are superstitious, because it is superstitious to do as 
we do; that we are deluded, because it is a delusion to 
believe what we believe ; that we are knaves, because it 
must be knavery to teach what we teach. A short 
and pleasant argument, easier even and safer than that 
extempore and improvisatore mode of fabricating and 
fabliuof aofainst us, of which I have said so much in 
former Lectures ; easier and safer, inasmuch as, 
according to the proverb, "great wits ought to have 
lonof memories," when tliev deal with facts. In 
arguments about facts, there must be consistency, and 
speciousness, and proof, and circumstantial evidence ; 
private judgment in short becomes subject to sundry 
and serious liabilities when it deals with history and 
testimony, from which it is comparatively free when it 
expatiates in opinions and views. Now of this high 
a priori mode of deciding the question, the specimen I 
actually took was the Protestant argument against 
relics and miracles ; and I selected this instance for 
its own sake, because I wished to bring out what I 
thought an important truth as regarded them ; but a 
more obvious instance certainly would have been the 
surprising obtuseness, for I can use no other word, with 
which the Protestant Rule of Faith, which Catholics 

Protection of the Protestant View. 3 1 7 

disown, is so often obtruded on us, as a necessary basis 
of discussion, which, it is thought absurd and self- 
destructive not to accept, in any controversy about 

All the world knows that Catholics hold that the 
Apostles made over the Divine Eevelation to the gener- 
ation after them, not only in writing, but by word of 
mouth, and in the ritual of the Church. We consider 
that the New Testament is not the whole of what they 
left us : that they left us a number of doctrines, not in 
writing at all, but living in the minds and mouths of 
the faithful : Protestants deny this. They have a right 
to deny it ; but they have no right to assume their 
denial to be true without proof, and to use it as self- 
evident, and to triumph over us as beaten, merely 
because we will not admit it. Yet this they actually 
do : can anything be more preposterous ? however, they 
do this as innocently and naturallj^ as if it were the 
most logical of processes, and the fairest and most 
unexceptionable of proceedings. For instance, there 
was a country gentleman in this neighbourhood, in the 
course of last year, who, having made some essays in 
theology among his tenantry in his walks over his 
estate, challenged me to prove some point, I am not 
clear what, but I think it was the infallibility of the 
Holy See, or of the Church. Were my time my 
own, I should never shrink from any controversy, 
having the experience of twenty years, that the more 
Catholicism and its doctrines are sifted, the more 
distinct and luminous will its truth ever come out into 
view ; and in the instance in question I did not decline 
the invitation. However, it soon turned out that it 

3 1 8 Ignorance Concerniftg Catholics the 

was a new idea to the gentleman in question, that I 
was not bound to prove the point in debate simply by- 
Scripture ; he considered that Scripture was to be the 
sole basis of the discussion. This was quite another 
thing. For myself, I firmly believe that in Scripture 
the Catholic doctrine on the subject is contained ; but 
had I accepted this gratuitous and officious proposition, 
you see I should have been simply recognising a 
Protestant principle, which I disown. He would not 
controvert with me at all, unless I subscribed to a 
doctrine which I believe to be, not only a dangerous, 
but an absurd error ; and, because I would not allow 
him to assume what it was his business to prove, before 
he brought it forward, and because I challenged him 
to prove that Scripture was, as he assumed, the Rule 
of Faith, he turned away as happy and self-satisfied as 
if he had gained a victory. That all truth is contained 
in Scripture was his first principle ; he thought none 
but an idiot could doubt it, none but a Jesuit could 
deny it ; he thought it axiomatic ; he thought that to 
ofier proof was even a profanation of so self-evident a 
point, and that to demand it was a reductio ad absurdum 
of the person demanding ; — ^but this, I repeat, was no 
extraordinary instance of Protestant argumentation; 
it occurs every other day. 

The instance in controversy, to which I have been 
alluding, leads by no very difficult nor circuitous 
transition to the subject to which I mean to devote the 
present Lecture. Let it be observed, that the fallacy 
involved in the Protestant Rule of Faith is this, — that 
its upholders fancy, most unnaturally, that the 
accidental and occasional writings of an Apostle 

Protection of the Protestattt View. 3 1 9 

convey to them of necessity liis whole mind. It does 
not occur to them to ask themselves, whether, as he has 
in part committed his teaching to writing, so possibly 
he may not have expressed it in part through other chan- 
nels also. Very different this from their mode of acting 
in matters of this world, in which nothing are they more 
distrustful of, or discontented with, than mere letter- 
writing, when they would arrive at the real state of a 
case in which they are interested. When a government, 
or the proprietors of a newspaper, would gain accurate 
information on any subject, they send some one to the 
spot, to see with his eyes. When a man of business would 
bring a negotiation to a safe and satisfactory conclusion, 
he exclaims that letters are endless, and forthwith 
despatches a confidential person to transact the matter 
with the parties with whom he is treating. We know 
how unwilling heads of families are to take servants by 
written characters, considering that writing is not 
minute and real enough for their purpose. Writing, of 
course, has special advantages, but it has its defects ; 
and other methods of information compensate for them. 
It must be recollected, too, as regards the New Testa- 
ment, that it is not a technical document, like an Act 
of Parliament, or a legal instrument, but is made up of 
various portions, exhibiting, more or less, the free and 
flowing course of thought of their respective writers. 
It is not worded with the scientific precision of a formal 
treatise, a creed, or a last will and testament. Now, 
works written in this natural style are especially liable 
to receive an interpretation, and to make an impression, 
not in correspondence with the writer's intention, but 
according to the private principles and feelings of the 

320 Ignorance Concerning Catholics the 

reader. The imagination draws the unknown or absent 
author in lineaments altogether different from the 
original. Did we suddenly see St Peter or St Paul, 
and hear him converse, most of us would not recognise, 
or even suspect him to be the Apostle. How surprised 
we sometimes are bj'^ the sight of those of whom we 
have often heard speak, or whose writings we have often 
read ! We cannot believe we have the living author 
before us. Hence it is common to hear it said in 
favour of intemperate partisans by their friends, ^' If 
you knew him, you really would like him ; he is so 
different from his mode of writing or speaking ; " 
others, on the other hand, meet with a person whom 
they have long admired through the medium of his 
works, and are quite mortified and annoyed that they 
like his conversation and his manners so little. 

Unless my memory fails me of what I read years ago, 
a well-known authoress, lately deceased, supplies in 
her tales one or two instances in point. I recollect 
the description of an old-fashioned, straightforward 
East Indian, who had for years corresponded with the 
widow of a friend in England, and from her letters had 
conceived a high opinion of her good sense and pro- 
priety of feeling. Then, as the story goes on to tell, 
he comes back to England, becomes acquainted with 
her, and, to his disappointment, is gradually made 
aware that she is nothing else than a worldly, heartless, 
and manoeuvring woman. The same writer draws else- 
where a very young lady, who, in the spirit of romance, 
has carried on a correspondence with another female 
whom she never saw ; on the strength of which, from a 
conviction of the sympathy which must exist between 

Protection of the Protestant View. 321 

them, she runs from home to join her, with the view of 
retiring with her for life to some secluded valley in 
Wales ; but is shocked to find, on meeting her, that 
after all she is vulgar, unattractive, and middle-aged. 
Were it necessary, numberless instances might be 
given to the purpose ; of mistakes, too, of every kind ; 
of persons, when seen, turning out different from their 
writings, for the better as well as for the worse, or 
neither for the better nor the worse, but still so different 
as to surprise us and make us muse; different in opinion, 
or in principle, or in conduct, or in impression and 
effect. And thus Scripture, in like manner, though 
written under a supernatural guidance, is, from the 
nature of the case, from the defect of human language, 
and the infirmity of the recipient, unable by itself to 
convey the real mind of its writers to all who read it. 
Instead of its forcing its meaning upon the reader, the 
reader forces his own meaning upon it, colours it with 
his own thoughts and distorts it to his own purposes ; 
so that something is evidently needed besides it, such 
as the teaching of the Church, to protect it from the 
false private judgment of the individual. And if this 
be true when the New Testament, as a whole, is contem- 
plated, how much more certainly will it take place 
when Protestants contract their reading professedly to 
only a part of it, as to St Paul's Epistles ; and then 
again, out of St Paul, select the two Epistles to the 
Romans and Galatians ; and still further, as is so 
common, confine themselves to one or two sentences, 
which constitute practically the whole of the Protestant 
written word ! Why, of course, it is very easy to put 
what sense they please on one or two verses ; and thus 

32 2 Ignorance Co7icerning Catholics the 

the Religion of the Apostles may come in the event to 
mean anything or nothing. 


Here, then, we are arrived at the subject on which I 
mean to remark this evening. Protestants judge of 
the Apostles' doctrine by " texts," as they are com- 
monly called, taken from Scripture, and nothing 
more ; and they judge of our doctrine too by " texts" 
taken from our writings, and nothing more. Picked 
verses, bits torn from the context, half sentences, 
are the warrant of the Protestant Idea, of what is 
Apostolic truth, on the one hand, and, on the other, 
of what is Catholic falsehood. As they have their chips 
and fragments of St Paul and St John, so have they 
their chips and fragments of Suarez and Bellarmine ; 
and out of the former they make to themselves their 
own Christian religion, and out of the latter our Anti- 
christian superstition. They do not ask themselves 
sincerely, as a matter of fact and history, What did the 
Apostles teach then ? nor do they ask sincerely, and as 
a matter of fact. What do Catholics teach now? they 
judge of the Apostles and they judge of us by scraps, 
and on these scraps they exercise their private judgment, 
— that is, their Prejudice, as I described two Lectures 
back, and their Assumed Principles, as I described in 
my foregoing Lecture ; and the process ends in their 
bringing forth, out of their scraps from the Apostles, 
what they call " Scriptural Religion," and out of their 
scraps from our theologians, what they call Popery. 

The first Christians were a living body ; they were 
thousands of zealous, energetic men, who preached, 

Protection of the Protestarit View. 323 

disputed, catechised, and conversed from year's end to 
year's end. They spoke by innumerable tongues, with 
one heart and one soul, all saying the same thing ; all 
this multitudinous testimony about the truths of 
Revelation, Protestants narrow down into one or two 
meagre sentences, which at their own will and pleasure 
they select from St Paul, and at their own will and 
pleasure they explain, and call the Gospel. They do just 
the same thing with us; Catholics, at least, have a lively 
illustration and evidence of the absurdity of Protestant 
private judgment as exercised on the Apostolic writ- 
ings, in the visible fact of its absurdity as exercised on 
themselves. They, as their forefathers, the first Chris- 
■tians, are a living body ; they, too, preach, dispute, 
catechise, converse with innumerable tongues, saying 
the same thing, as our adversaries confess, all over the 
earth. Well, then, you would think the obvious way 
was, if they would know what we really teach, to come 
and ask us, to talk with us, to try to enter into our 
views, and to attend to our teaching. Not at all ; they 
do not dream of doing so ; they take their " texts ; '* 
they have got their cut-and-dried specimens from our 
divines, which the Protestant Tradition hands down 
from generation to generation ; and, as by the aid of 
their verses from Scripture, they think they understand 
the Gospel better than the first Christians, so by the 
help of these choice extracts from our works, they think 
they understand our doctrine better than we do our- 
selves. They will not allow us to explain our own 
books. So sure are they of their knowledge, and so 
superior to us, that they have no difficulty in setting us 
right, and in accounting for our contradicting them. 

324 Ignorance Concerning Catholics the 

Sometimes Catholics are "evasive and shuffling," which, 
of course, will explain everything ; sometimes they 
simply " have never been told what their creed really is ;" 
the priest keeps it from them, and cheats them ; as 
yet, too, perhaps they are "recent converts," and do not 
know the actual state of things, though they will 
know in time. Thus Protestants judge us by their 
" texts ; " and by " texts " I do not mean only pas- 
sages from our writers, but all those samples of whatever 
kind, historical, ecclesiastical, biographical, or political, 
carefully prepared, improved, and finished off by succes- 
sive artists for the occasion, which they think so 
much more worthy of credit and reliance as to facts, 
than us and our word, who are in the very communion 
to which those texts relate. Some good personal know- 
ledge of us, and intercourse with us, not in the way of 
controversy or criticism, but what is prior — viz., in the 
way of sincere inquiry, in order to ascertain how things 
really lie, such knowledge and intercourse would be 
worth all the conclusions, however elaborate and subtle, 
from rumours, false witnessings, suspicions, romantic 
scenes, morsels of history, morsels of theology, morsels 
of our miraculous legends, morsels of our devotional 
writers, morsels from our individual members, whether 
unlearned or intemperate, which are the " text " of the 
traditional Protestant view against us. This, then, is 
the last of the causes, which in the course of these 
Lectures I shall assign, and on which this evening I 
shall insist, by way of accounting for the hatred 
and contempt shown towards the Catholics of England 
by their fellow-countrymen — viz., that the Catholics 
of England, as a body, are not personally known. 

Protection of the Protestant View. 325 


I have already observed, that in matters of this 
world, when a man would really get information on a 
subject, he eschews reports, and mistrusts understand- 
ings, and betakes himself to head-quarters. The best 
letters and travels about a foreign people are tame and 
dead compared with the view he gains by residence 
among them; and when that has continued for a 
^ sufficient time, he perceives how unreal were even those 
first impressions, which, on his arriving, were made 
upon him by the successive accidents of the hour. 
Knowledge thus obtained cannot be communicated to 
others : it is imbibed and appropriated by the mind as 
a personal possession ; an idea of the people among 
whom he lives is set up within him ; he may like them 
or not, but his perception is real, and, if any one ques- 
tions it, he need but appeal to the circumstance of his 
long residence in the country, and say he has a right 
to an opinion, which, nevertheless, he can perhaps but 
poorly and partially defend. He can but give his 
testimony, and must be believed on his reputation. 
And surely, if he has a fair name for powers of observa- 
tion and good sense, he may be believed without proof. 
He has witnessed what others argue about. He has 
contemplated the national character in life and in action, 
as it is brought out in its opinions, aims, sentiments, 
and dispositions in the course of the day and the year ; 
he has heard the* words, seen the deeds, watched the 
manners, breathed the atmosphere, and so caught the 
true idea of the people ; — in other words, he has 
mastered their Tradition. This is what Catholics mean 

326 Ignorance Concerning Catholics the 

by Tradition, and why they go so much by it. It does 
VL^tprove our doctrines to the man in question, but it will 
tell him, in a way no other informant can tell him, what 
our doctrines are. It has a substance and a reality 
peculiar to itself; for it is not a sample or specimen of 
us merely, but it is we, our thinking, speaking, acting 
self; our principles, our judgments, our proceedings. 
What we hold, what we do not hold, what we like, what 
we hate, cannot all be written down, whether by us or 
by others ; you can have no daguerreotype of intellect,, 
affection, and will ; at best you have but a few bold 
strokes recorded for the benefit of others, according to 
the skill of the individual artist. Those who write 
books about a people or a school of men are hardly 
more than extempore sketchers ; or they paint from 
memory ; if you would have the real thing, what the 
men are, what they think, what they do, close your books, 
take a ticket by the first train, cross the channel, plunge 
in among them, drink them in. This is what is called 
painting from the life ; and what is here called life the 
Catholic calls Tradition, which eclipses and supersedes, 
when and where it can be had, the amplest collection 
of "texts" and extracts about our doctrine and polity, 
which was ever put together by the ablest of compilers. 

Now let me quote some words of my own on this 
subject, when I was a Protestant. As they are written 
in controversy with Catholics, they are so much more to 
my present purpose ; especially as I did not, when I 
wrote them, see their bearing on the point I am now 
insisting on. The passage is long, but its appositeness 
may excuse it. 

"We hear it said," I then observed, "that they [the 

Protection of the Protestant View. 327 

Catholics] go by Tradition ; and we fancy in conse- 
quence that there are a certain definite number of state- 
ments ready framed and compiled, which they profess to 
have received from the Apostles. One may hear the 
question sometimes asked, for instance, where their 
professed Traditions are to be found, whether there is 
any collection of them, and whether they are printed and 
published. Now, though they would allow that the 
Traditions of the Church are, in fact, contained in the 
writings of her Doctors, still this question proceeds on 
somewhat of a misconception of their real theory, which 
seems to be as follows : — By tradition they mean the 
whole system of faith and ordinances, which they have 
received from the generation before them, and that 
generation again from the generation before itself. 
And in this sense undoubtedly we all go by Tradition 
in matters of this world. Where is the corporation, 
society, or fraternity of any kind, but has certain received 
rules and understood practices, which are nowhere put 
down in writing? How often do we hear it said, 
that this or that person has ' acted unusually ; ' that 
so and so ' was never done before ; ' that it is ' against 
rule,' and the like ; aud then, perhaps, to avoid the 
inconvenience of such irregularity in future, what was 
before a tacit engagement is turned into a formal and 
explicit order or principle. The need of a regulation 
must be discovered before it is supplied ; and the virtual 
transgression of it goes before its imposition. At this 
very time, great part of the law of the land is adminis- 
tered under the sanction of such a Tradition : it is not 
contained in any formal or authoritative code, it 
depends on custom or precedent. There is no explicit 

328 Ignorance Concerning Catholics the 

written law, for instance, simply declaring murder to 
be a capital offence, unless, indeed, we have recourse to 
the divine command in the ninth chapter of the book 
of Genesis. Murderers are hanged by custom. Such 
as this is the Tradition of the Church ; Tradition is 
uniform custom. . It is silent, but it lives. It is 
silent like the rapids of a river, before the rocks inter- 
cept it. It is the Church's . . habit of opinion and 
feeling, which she reflects upon, masters and expresses, 
according to the emergency. We see, then, the mistake 
of asking for a complete collection of the Roman tradi- 
tions ; as well might we ask for a collection of a man's 
tastes and opinions on a given subject. Tradition in 
its fulness is necessarily unwritten ; it is the mode in 
which a society has felt or acted, during a certain 
period, and it cannot be circumscribed, any more than 
a man's countenance and manner can be conveyed to 
strangers in any set of propositions."* 

I see nothing to alter in these remarks, written many 
years before I became a Catholic ; and you see with what 
force they tell against the system of judging any body 
of men by extracts, passages, specimens, and sayings — 
nay, even by their documents, if these are taken by us 
to be sufficient informants, instead of our studying the 
living body itself. For instance, there has been lately 
a good deal of surprise expressed in some quarters, 
though it is not likely to have attracted your attention, 
that the infallibility of the Church has never been 
decreed, whether in General Council or by other ecclesi- 
astical authority, to be a Catholic doctrine. This has 
been put about as a discovery, and an important one : 

* Prophetical Office, Lecture I. pp. 38-41. 

Protection of the Protestant View. 329 

and Catholics have been triumphantly asked, how it is 
that the tenet which is at the bottom of their whole 
system is nowhere set down in writing and propounded 
for belief. But, in truth, there is neither novelty nor 
importance in the remark : on the one hand, it has 
been made again and again ;* and on the other, when- 
ever it has been urged against us, it has been simply 
urged from ignorance, as I have already shown you, of 
the real state of the case. Is nothing true but what 
has been written down ? on the contrary, the whole 
Catholic truth has ever lived, and only lived, in the 
hearts and on the tongues of the Catholic people ; and, 
while it is one mistake in the objectors in question, to 
think that they know the Catholic faith, it is a second, 
to think that they can teach it to Catholics. Which 
party is more likely to be in possession of what Catholics 
believe, they or we ? There is a maxim commonly ac- 
cepted, that " Every one is to be trusted in his own 
art ; " from which it would follow, that, as Frenchmen 
are the best masters of French, and pilots the best 
steersmen on the river. Catholics ought to know Catho- 
licism better than other men. Military men do not show 
particular respect for the criticisms of civilians. As 
for amateur physicians, I suppose most of us would 
rather be doctored by the village nurse, who blindly 
goes by tradition and teaching, than by a clever person, 
who, among other things, has dabbled in family vade- 
mecums and materia-medicas, abounds in theories and 
views, and has a taste for experiments. Again, I have 

* ^- g- By myself, though not in objection, in the work above quoted, 
Lecture X. p. 293. By Cressy, in Dr Hammond's Works, vol. ii, p. 635, 
two centuries ago. 

330 Ignorance Concerning Catholics the 

heard able men, who were not lawyers, impugn the 
institution of Trial by Jury ; and the answer to them 
has been, " You are not learned in the law, it works 
well." In like manner, a great statesman says of 
Protestant Clergymen, that they "understand least 
and take the worst measure of human affairs, of all 
mankind that can write and read." Yet any one is 
thought qualified to attack or to instruct a Catholic in 
matters of his religion ; a country gentleman, a navy 
captain, a half-pay officer, with time on his hands, 
never having seen a Catholic, or a Catholic ceremonial, 
or a Catholic treatise, in his life, is competent, by 
means of one or two periodicals and tracts, and a set of 
Protestant extracts against Popery, to teach the Pope 
in his own religion, and refute a Council. 


Suarez, Vasquez, de Lugo, Lambertini, St Thomas, 
St Buenaventura, a goodly succession of folios on our 
shelves ! You would think the doctrine would take 
some time to master, which has occupied the lives and 
elicited the genius of some of the greatest masters of 
thought whom the world has known. Our Protestant, 
however, is sure there must be very little in such works, 
because they are so voluminous. He has not studied 
our doctrines, he has not learned our terms ; he calls 
our theological language jargon, and he thinks the 
whole matter lies in a nutshell. He is ever mistaking 
one thing for another, and thinks it does not signify. 
Ignorance in his case is the mother, not certainly of 
devotion, but of inconceivable conceit and preternatural 
injustice. If he is to attack or reply, up he takes the 

Protection of the Protestmit View. 331 

first specimen or sample of our doctrine, which the 
Reformation Society has provided, some dreadful senti- 
ment of the Jesuit Bellarmine, or the Schoolman Scotus. 
He has never turned to the passage in the original 
work, never verified it, never consulted the context, 
never construed its wording ; he blindly puts his own 
sense upon it, or the " authorised version " given to it 
by the Society in question, and boldly presents it to 
the British public, which is forthwith just as much 
shocked at it as he is. Now, anything is startling and 
grotesque, if taken out of its place, and surveyed with- 
out reference to the whole to which it belongs. The 
perfection of the parts lies in their subserviency to a 
whole ; and they often have no meaning except in 
their bearing upon each other. How can you tell 
whether a thing is good or bad, unless you know what 
it is intended for ? Protestants, however, separate our 
statements from their occasions and their objects, and 
then ask what in the world can be their meaning or their 
use. This is evident to any one whose intellect is not 
fettered to his particular party, and who does but take 
the trouble to consider Catholic doctrines, not as they 
stand in Reformation Tracts, torn up by the roots or 
planted head-downwards, but as they are found in our 
own gardens. I am tempted to quote a passage on the 
subject from a recent Review, which is as far as possible 
from showing any leaning to Catholicism. You will 
see how fully an impartial writer, neither Catholic nor 
Protestant, bears me out in what I have said : — 

"A true British Protestant," he says, *' whose 
notions of ' Popery ' are limited to what he hears from 
an Evangelical curate, or has seen at the opening of a 

332 Ignorance Concernmg Catholics the 

Jesuit cliurch, looks on the whole system as an obsolete 
mummery, and no more believes that men of sense can 
seriously adopt it, than that they will be converted to 
the practice of eating their dinner with a Chinaman's 

chopsticks instead of the knife and fork Few 

even of educated Englishmen have any suspicion of 
the depth and solidity of the Catholic dogma, its wide 
and various adaptation to wants ineffaceable from the 
human heart, its wonderful fusion of the supernatural 
into the natural life, its vast resources for a powerful 

hold upon the conscience Into this interior view, 

however, the popular polemics neither give, nor have 

the slightest insight It is not among the 

j ignorant and vulgar, but among the intellectual and 
I imaginative ; not by appeals to the senses in worship, 
( but by consistency and subtlety of thought, that in our 

1 days converts will be made to the ancient Church 

I When a thoughtful man, accustomed to defer to 

I historical authority, and competent to estimate moral 

t theories as a whole, is led to penetrate beneath the 

I surface, he is unprepared for the sight of so much 

; speculative grandeur ; and if he has been a mere 

Anglican or Lutheran, is perhaps astonished into the 

conclusion that the elder system has the advantage in 

philosophy and antiquity alike,"* 

You see how entirely this able writer, with no sort 
of belief in Catholicism, justifies what I have been 
saying. Fragments, extracts, specimens, convey no 
idea to the world of what we are ; he who wishes to 
know us must condescend to study us. The Catholic 
doctrine is after all too great to be comfortably accom- 

* Westminster Review, Jan. 1851. 

Protection of the Protestant View. 333 

moJated in a Protestant nutshell ; it cannot be sur- 
veyed at a glance, or refuted by a syllogism : — and 
what this author says of Catholic doctrine applies to 
Catholic devotion also. Last week I made some obser- 
vations on our miracles ; and I then said that they would 
be scorned and rejected, or not, according as this or that 
First Principle concerning them was taken for granted ; 
but now I am going to advance a step further. I really 
think then, that, even putting aside First Principles, 
no one can read the lives of certain of our Saints, as St 
Francis Xavier, or St Philip Neri, with seriousness and 
attention, without rising up from the perusal, — I do not 
say converted to Catholicism (that is a distinct matter, 
which I have kept apart throughout these Lectures), — 
but indisposed to renew the ridicule and scorn in which 
he has indulged previously. One isolated miracle looks 
strange, but many interpret each other : this or that, 
separated from the system of which they are a part, 
may be perfectly incredible ; but when they are viewed 
as portions of a whole, they press upon the inquirer a 
feeling, I do not say absolutely of conviction, but at 
least of wonder, of perplexity, and almost of awe. When 
you consider the vast number which are recorded, for 
instance, in the Life of St Philip, their variety, their 
exuberance in a short space of time, the circumstantial 
exactness with which they are recorded, the diversity 
and multitude of witnesses and attestations which occur 
in the course of the narrative, the thought will possess 
you, even though you are not yet able to receive them, 
that after all fraud or credulity is no sufficient account 
of them. No skill could invent so many, so rapidly, 
80 consistently, and so naturally ; and you are sensible, 

334 Ignorance Concerning Catholics the 

and you confess, that, whatever be the truth of the 
matter, you have not got to the bottom of it. You 
have ceased to contemn, you have learned to respect. 


And so again I would say of any book which lets 
you into the private life of personages who have 
had any great deal to do with the government of the 
Church ; which brings you, so to say, behind the scenes, 
where all pretence is impossible, and where men appear 
what they are : it is simply impossible, or at least it 
would be as good as a miracle, for any one to study 
such works, and still consider that the Pope was the man 
of sin, and the Mother of Saints a Jezebel. You see 
that Popes and Cardinals and Prelates are not griffins 
and wiverns, but men; good men, or bad men, or 
neither one nor the other, as the case may be ; bold men, 
or weak men, worldly men or unworldly, but still men. 
They have human feelings, human affections, human 
virtues, human anxieties, human hopes and joys, what- 
ever higher than mere human excellence a Catholic of 
course would ascribe to them. They are no longer, as 
before, the wild beasts, or the frogs, or the locusts, or 
the plagues of the Apocalypse ; such a notion, if you 
have ever entertained it, is gone for ever. You feel it 
to have been a ridiculous illusion, and you laugh at it. 
For instance, I would take such a book as Cardinal 
Pacca's Memoirs of Pope Pius the VII. 's captivity. 
Here is a book of facts ; here is a narrative, simple and 
natural. It does not give you the history of an 
absolute hero or of a saint ; but of a good, religious, 
holy man, who would have rather died any moment 

Protection of the Protestant View. 335 

than offend God ; who had an overpowering sense of 
his responsibility, and a diffidence in his own judgment 
which made him sometimes err in his line of conduct. 
Here, too, is vividly brought out before you what we 
mean by Papal infallibility, or rather what we do not 
mean by it : you see how the Pope was open to any 
mistake, as others may be, in his own person, true as 
it is, that whenever he spoke ex cathedra on subjects 
of revealed truth, he spoke as its divinely ordained 
expounder. It is difficult to bring this home to you by 
any mere extracts from such a work ; and I shall be 
perhaps falling into the very fault I am exposing if I 
attempt to do so ; yet I cannot refrain asking you 
candidly, whether passages such as the following can 
be said to fit in with the received Protestant Tradition 
of the Pope, as a sort of diabolical automaton, spouting 
out sin and wickedness by the necessity of his nature. 

When Pope Pius and Cardinal Pacca were carried off 
by the French from Rome, as they sat in the carriage, 
*' The Pope," says the Cardinal, " a few minutes after- 
wards, asked me whether I had with me any money : 
to which I replied, ' Your holiness saw that I was 
arrested in your own apartments, so that I have had no 
opportunity of providing myself.' We then both of us 
drew forth our purses, and, notwithstanding the state 
of affliction we were in at being thus torn away from 
Rome, and all that was dear to us, we could hardly 
compose our countenances on finding the contents of 
each purse to consist, in that of the Pope of one papetto 
(about lOfl?.), and in mine three grossi (J\d,) Thus 
the Sovereign of Rome and his Prime Minister set forth 
upon their journey, literally, without figm-e of speech 

33^ Ignorance Concerning Catholics the 

or metaphor, in true Apostolic style, conformable with 
the precept of our Saviour addressed to His disciples : 
' Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor 
scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two 
coats apiece.' We were without eatables, and we had 
no clothes except those we wore, not even a shirt ; and 
the habits, such as they were, were most inconvenient 

for travelling With regard to money, we had 

precisely thirty-five baiocchi (halfpence) between us. 
The Pope, extending his hand, showed his papetto to 
General Eadet, saying at the same time, ' Look here ; 
this is all I possess, all that remains of my prin- 
cipality.' "* 

Or take again the account of the Pontiffs conduct 
after having been betrayed into signing the unhappy 
Concordat with Napoleon. " The Pope, so long as the 
Emperor remained at Fontainebleau, manifested no 
outward appearance of the feelings that agitated his 
heart with regard to what had happened ; but so soon 
as Napoleon was gone, he fell into a state of profound 
despondency, and was attacked by fever. Conversing 
with the Cardinals . . . and discussing the subject of 
the articles to which he had just affixed his signature, 
he at once saw by the undisguised expression of their 
countenances, the fatal consequences likely to be the 
fruit of that ill-advised deed, and became so horror- 
struck and afilicted in consequence, that for several 
days he abstained from the celebration of the holy 
sacrifice, under the impression that he had acted 
unworthily Perceiving the general disappro- 
bation, and, as it were, shudder of the public mind 

* Head's Pacca, vol. i. p. 157. 

Protection of the Protestant View. 337 

among all religious, well-conducted persons, he fell 
into that hopeless state of deep melancholy, which I 
before attempted to describe, on the occasion of my 
arrival at Fontainebleau."* " At first sight of the Holy 
Father, I was thoroughly shocked and astonished to 
see how pale and emaciated he had become, how his 
body was bent, how his eyes were fixed and sunk in his 
head, and how he looked at me with, as it were, the 

glare of a man grown stupid The solitude and 

silence of the place, the expression of sadness that 
appeared on every countenance, added to the recent 
spectacle of profound grief I had witnessed in the 
person of the Pope, and, above all, the unexpectedly 
cold reception I had experienced from his Holiness, 
occasioned me a degree of surprise, and a sorrowful 
compression of heart, that it is far more easy for an 
indifi'erent person to imagine than for myself to de- 
scribe. . . He was . . overwhelmed by a depression 
of spirits the most profound, so much so, that in the 
course of speaking to me of what had happened, he 
frequently broke forth in the most plaintive ejaculations, 
saying, among many other similarly interjectional 
expressions, that the thought of what had been done 
tormented him continually, that he could not get it out 
of his mind, that he could neither rest by day, nor sleep 
by night ; that he could not eat more than barely 
sufficient to sustain life."t 

Then observe the difierence, after he had retracted the 
deed which distressed him so much, though at the very 
time he was anticipating the utmost fury of Napoleon 
in consequence, whose prisoner he was. " There 

* Head's Pacca, vol. ii. p. 143. t Ibid. vol. i. p. 406. 



8 Ignorance Concerning CatJiolics the 

suddenly appeared in his person and countenance an 
unexpected alteration. Previously, the profound grief 
in which, as I have before stated, he was continually 
immersed, was consuming him day by day, and was 
deeply imprinted on his features, which now, on the 
contrary, became all at once serene, and, as he gradually 
recovered his usual gaiety of spirits, were occasionally 
animated by a smile. Neither did he any longer com- 
plain of loss of appetite, or of the inquietude and 
agitation that every night, for a considerable time 
before, had interrupted his repose."* 

These passages put one in mind of the beautiful legend 
contained in the Breviary of a far greater fault, the fall 
of Pope Marcellinus. " In the monstrous Diocletian 
persecution," says the Lesson, " Marcellinus, overcome 
with terror, sacrificed to the idols of the gods ; for 
which sin he soon conceived so great repentance, that 
he came in sackcloth to Sinuessa, to a full council of 
Bishops, where, with abundant tears, he openly con- 
fessed his crime. Whom, however, none dare condemn, 
but all with one voice cried out, ' Thy own mouth, not 
our judgment, be thy judge, for the first See is judged 
by none. Peter, too, by a like infirmity of mind, failed, 
and by like tears obtained pardon from God.' Then he 
returned to Rome, went to the Emperor, severely 
reproached him for tempting him to that impiety, and 
with three others was beheaded." 

Popes, then, though they are infallible in their office, 
as Prophets and Vicars of the Most High, and though 
they have generally been men of holy life, and many of 
them actually saints, have the trials, and incur the 

* Head's Pacca, vol. ii. p. 187.' 

Protection of the Protestant View. 339 

risks of other men. Our doctrine of infallibility means 
something very different from what Protestants think 
it means. And so again, all the inconsistencies which 
they think they find in what we teach of the sanctity of 
the Priesthood compared with the actual conduct of a 
portion of the members of it, would vanish, if they 
understood that a priest, in a Catholic sense, as in St 
Paul's sense, is one " who can have compassion on the 
ignorant, and on them that err, for that he himself also 
is encompassed with infirmity." Yet, strange to say, 
so little are they aware of our real doctrine on the sub- 
ject, that even since these Lecturesbegan, it has been said 
to me, in reference to them in print, ''A vulgar error in 
your Church is, that the Priests are so divinely protected 
that one of them can hardly err, can hardly sin. This 
notion is now at an end, as far as you are concerned." 
Most marvellous ! This writer's idea, and the idea of 
most Protestants is, that we profess that all Priests are 
angels, but that really they are all devils. No, neither 
the one nor the other ; if these Protestants came to us 
and asked, they would find that we taught a far different 
doctrine — viz. , that Priests were mortal men, who were 
intrusted with high gifts for the good of the people, 
that they might err as other men, that they would fall 
if they were not watchful, that in various times and 
places large numbers had fallen, so much so, that the 
Priesthood of whole countries had before now apos- 
tatised, as happened in great measure in England three 
centuries ago, and that at all times there was a certain 
remnant scattered about of priests who did not live up 
to their faith and their profession ; still that, on the 
whole, they had been, as a body, the salt of the earth 

340 Ignorance Concerriing Catholics the 

and the light of the world, through the power of divine 
grace, and that thus, in spite of the frailty of human 
nature, they had fulfilled the blessed purposes of their 

But not in one or two points merely, but in every- 
thing we think and say and do, as Catholics, were we 
but known, what a reformation would there not at once 
follow in the national mind in respect to us ! British 
fair dealing and good sense would then recover their 
supremacy ; and Maria Monks and Teodores would find 
their occupation gone. We should hear no more of 
the laity being led blindfold, of their being forced to 
digest impossibilities under menace of perdition, of 
their struggles to get loose continually overmastered by 
their superstition, and of their heart having no part in 
their profession. The spectres of tyranny, hypocrisy, 
and fraud would flit away with the morning light. 
There would be no more dread of being burned alive by 
Papists, or of the gutters overflowing with Protestant 
blood. Dungeons, racks, pulleys, and quick lime would 
be like the leavings of a yesterday's revel. Nor would 
the political aims and plots and intrigues, so readily 
imputed to us, seem more substantial ; and though, I 
suppose, there is lying, and littleness, and overreaching, 
and rivalry, to be found among us as among other sons 
of Adam, yet the notion that we monopolised these vile 
qualities, or had more than our share of them, would be 
an exploded superstition. This indeed would be a short 
and easy way, not of making Protestants Catholics, but 
of reversing their ridiculous dreams about us, — I mean, 
if they actually saw what they so interminably argue 
about. But it is not to be : — first comes in the way 

Protection of the Protestant View. 341 

that verj' love of arguing and of having an opinion, to 
which, my last words have alluded. Men would be sorry 
indeed that the controversy should be taken from the 
region of argument and transferred to that of fact. 
They like to think as they please ; and as they would 
by no means welcome St Paul, did he come from heaven 
to instruct them in the actual meaning of his *' texts " 
in Romans iii. or Galatians ii., so they would think it 
a hardship to be told that they must not go on main- 
taining and proving, that we were really what their eyes 
then would testify we were not. And then, too, dear 
scandal and romancing put in their claim ; how would 
the world go on, and whence would come its staple 
food and its cheap luxuries, if Catholicism were taken 
from the market ? Why, it would be like the cotton 
crop failing, or a new tax put upon tea. And then, 
too, comes prejudice, *' like the horseleech, crying^ 
Give, give : " how is prejudice to exist without Catholic 
iniquities and enormities ? prejudice, which could not 
fast for a day, which would be in torment inexpressible, 
and call it Popish persecution, to be kept on this sort 
of meagre for a Lent, and would shake down Queen and 
Parliament with the violence of its convulsions, rather 
than it should never suck a Catholic's sweet bones and 
drink his blood any more. 

Prejudice and hatred, political party, animosities of 
race and country, love of gossip and scandal, private 
judgments, resentments, sensitive jealousies, these, and 
a number of bad principles besides, extending through 
the country, present an almost insuperable obstacle to 
our obtaining a fair hearing and receiving a careful 
examination. There are other feelings, too, not wrong, 

342 Ignorance Concerning Catholics the 

as I would trust, in which before now I have partici- 
pated myself, but equally drawing a cordon between 
Catholics and the rest of the population. One, for 
instance, is the motive frequently influencing those who 
really feel a great drawing towards the Catholic Church, 
though they are unable to accept her doctrines ; andwho, 
washing to act, not by affection or liking or fancy, but 
by reason, are led to dread lest the impulses of love, 
gratitude, admiration, and devotion which they feel 
within them, should overcome in their hearts the claims 
of truth and justice, and decide the matter peremptorily 
for them, if they subjected themselves to an intercourse 
with Catholics. And another consideration weighs 
with such Protestants as are in a responsible situation 
in their own communion, or are its ministers and 
functionaries. These persons feel that while they hold 
office in a body which is at war with Catholics, they are 
as little at liberty to hold friendly intercourse with them, 
even with the open avowal of their differing from them 
in serious matters, as an English officer or a member 
of Parliament may lawfully correspond with the French 
Government during a time of hostilities. These various 
motives, and others besides, better and worse, are, I 
repeat, almost an insuperable barrier in the way of any 
real and familiar intercourse between Protestants and 
ourselves : and they act, in consequence, as the means 
of perpetuating what may be considered the chief nega- 
tive cause, and the simplest explanation, of the absurdi- 
ties so commonly entertained about us by all classes of 
society. Personal intercourse, then, being practically 
just as much out of the question with us, as with the 
Apostles themselves or the Jewish prophets, Protes- 

Protection of the Protestant View. 343 

tantism has nothing left for it, when it would argue about 
us, but to have recourse, as in the case of Scripture, to 
its "texts," its chips, shavings, brickbats, potsherds, 
and other odds and ends of the Heavenly City, which 
form the authenticated and ticketed specimens of what 
the Catholic Religion is in its great national Museum. 

I am complaining of nothing which I do not myself 
wish to avoid in dealing with my opponents. I wish 
them to be judged by their traditions ; and in these 
Lectures I have steadily kept in view the Elizabethan 
Tradition, and wished to consider it the centre and the 
life of all they say and do. If I select their words or 
their acts, I wish to throw myself into them, and deter- 
mine what they mean by the light of this informing 
principle. And I have means of doing so which many 
others have not, having been a Protestant myself. I 
have stood on their ground ; and would always aim at 
handling their arguments, not as so many dead words, 
but as the words of a speaker in a particular state of 
mind, which must be experienced, or witnessed, or 
explored, if it is to be understood. Calvin, for instance, 
somewhere calls his own doctrine, that souls are lost 
without their own free will by the necessity of divine 
predestination, horrible; at least, so he is said to do, 
for I do not know his writings myself. Now I conceive 
he never can really say this ; I conceive he uses the 
Latin word in the sense of fearful or awful, and that to 
make him say " horrible " is the mere unfairness of 
some Lutheran adversary, who will not enter into his 
meaning. This is to go by the letter, not by the spirit; 

344 Ignoi^ance Concernmg Catholics the 

by the text, not by the tradition. The lawyers, again, 
as I noticed in my first Lecture, speak of the " Omni- 
potence of Parliament ; " I never will be so unjust to 
them as to take them literally. I am perfectly sure 
that it never entered into the head of any Speaker, or 
Prime Minister, or Serjeant-at-arms, to claim any 
superhuman prerogative for the Two Houses. Those 
officials all feel intensely, I am sure, that they are but 
feeble and fallible creatures, and would laugh at any 
one who shuddered at their use of a phrase which has 
a parliamentary sense as well as a theological. Now I 
only claim to be heard in turn with the same candour 
which I exemplify so fully, when I speak myself of the 
omnipotence of the Blessed Virgin. When such an 
expression is used by a Catholic, he would be as indig- 
nant as a member of Parliament to find it perverted by 
an enemy from the innocent sense in which he used it. 
Parliament is omnipotent, as having the power to do 
what it will, not in France, or in Germany, or in 
Kussia, much less all over the earth, much less in 
heaven, but within the United Kingdom ; and in like 
manner the Blessed Virgin is called omnipotent, as being 
able to gain from God what she desires by the medium 
of prayer. Prayer is regarded as omnipotent in Scripture, 
and she in consequence, as being the chief intercessor 
among creatures, is considered omnipotent too. And the 
same remark applies to a great number of other words 
in Catholic theology. When the Church is called 
" holy," it is not meant that her authorities are always 
good men, though nothing is more common with Pro- 
testants than so to suppose. " Worship," again, is 
another term which is commonly misunderstood; 

Protection of the Protestant View. 345 

''indulgence" is another; "merit," "intention," 
" scandal," " religion," " obedience," all have their 
own senses, which our opponents must learn from 
Catholics, and cannot well find out for themselves. 

I have a good old woman in my eye, who, to the 
great amusement of all hearers, goes about saying that 
her priest has given her " absolution for a week." 
What a horrid story for Exeter Hall ! Here is a poor 
creature, with one foot in the grave, who is actually 
assured by her confessor, doubtless for some due 
pecuniary consideration, that for a week to come she 
may commit any sort of enormity to which she is 
inclined with impunity. Absolution for a week ! then, 
it seems, she has discounted, if I may so speak, her 
prospective confessions, and may lie, thieve, drink, and 
swear for a whole seven days with a clear conscience ! 
But now what does she really mean? I defy a Protest- 
ant to get the meaning out of the words, even if he 
wished to be fair ; he must come to us for it. She 
means, then, that she has leave to communicate for a 
week to come, on her usual days of communion, what- 
ever be their number, without coming to confession 
before each day. But how can her words have this mean- 
ing? in this way, as you know, my Brothers, well. 
Catholics are not bound to come to confession before 
communion, unless they have committed some greater 
sin ; nor are they commonly advised by their priests to 
come every time, though they often do so. When, 
then, she said she had got absolution for a week, she 
meant to express, that the priest had told her that her 
once going to confession would be often enough, for 
all her days of communion, during a week to come, 

346 Ignorance Concerning Catholics the 

supposing (which was not to be expected in so pious a 
woman) she fell into no great sin. You see how many 
words it takes duly to unfold the meaning of one 
familiar expression. 

This instance of Popish profligacy has not yet got 
into the Protestant prints ; but there are others, not 
unlike it, which before now have made a great noise in 
the world. I will give you an instance of a mistake, 
not, indeed, as to a colloquialism, but as to the force of a 
technical phrase. When forms are often repeated, at 
length they are shortened ; every schoolboy knows this 
in learning geometry, where at first every word of the 
process of proof is supplied with formal exactness, and 
then, as the treatise advances, the modes of expressions 
are abbreviated. Many of our familiar words are abbre- 
viations of this sort ; such is an " omnibus ; " again, a 
"stage," in the sense of a stage-coach ; we talk of the 
" rail," when we mean the " railroad ; " we speak of 
" laying the table " for dinner, when we mean " laying 
the cloth on the table ; " and a king's levy properly 
means his "rising in the morning," but is taken to 
mean his showing himself to his nobles and others who 
come to pay him their respects. So again, innkeepers 
paint up, " Entertainment for man and horse ; " they 
do not add the important words, " to those who can 
pay for it." Every other private house in our streets 
has " Ring the bell " upon its door ; that is, " if you 
have business within." And so, again, in Catholicism 
the word " penance," which properly means repentance, 
often stands for the punishment annexed to the repent- 
ance, as when we talk of the imposition of " penances." 
Now, in like manner, as to Indulgences, " to absolve from 

Protection of the Protestant View. 347 

Bin " sometimes means one of two things quite distinct 
from real absolution. First, it may mean nothing else 
but to remit the punishment of sin ; and next, it may 
mean to absolve externally or to reconcile to the Church, 
in the sense in which I explained the phrase ina previous 
Lecture.* Here, however, I am going to speak of the 
phrase in the former of these two senses — viz., as the 
remission of the punishment remaining after pardon of 
the sin. This is an indulgence ; indulgence never is 
absolution or pardon itself. At the same time it is quite 
certain that, as far as words go. Indulgences have 
sometimes been drawn up in such a form as conveys to a 
Protestant reader the idea of real absolution, which they 
always presuppose and never convey. To a person who 
is not pardoned (and pardoned he cannot be without 
repentance), an Indulgence does no good whatever ; an 
Indulgence supposes the person receiving it to be already 
absolved and in a state of grace, and then it remits to 
him the punishment which remains due to his past sins, 
whatever they are ; but that this is really the meaning, a 
Protestant will as little gather from the form of words 
in which it has been sometimes drawn up, as he would 
gather from the good old soul's words cited just now, 
that "absolution" means "leave to go to communion." 
If Protestants will not take their information from 
Catholics on points such as this, but are determined to 
judge for themselves and to insist on the letter, there 
is no help for it. 

And the same remark in a measure applies to another 
expression to be found in Indulgences. In Tetzel's 

* In Lecture III. This sense, however, is unusual ; vidt Ferraris, 
Biblioth.j art. ludulg., App. § 6. 

348 Ignorance Concerning Catholics the 

famous form at the beginning of the Reformation, -we 
read as follows : — " Shouldest thou not presently die, 
let this grace remain in full force, and avail thee at the 
point of death." On this Dr Waddington, ordinarily 
a cautious as well as candid writer, observes, " [It 
cannot] be disputed that it conferred an entire absolu- 
tion, not only from all past, but also from all future 
Bins. It is impossible with any shadow of reason to 
affix any other meaning to the concluding paragraph,"* 
— which is the one I have quoted. Reason ; how can 
reason help you here ? could you have found out that 
" absolution " meant " leave for communion " by 
reason. Some things are determined by reason, others 
by sense, and others by testimony. We go to diction- 
aries for information of one kind, and to gazetteers for 
information of another kind. No one discovers the price 
of stocks, ministerial measures, or the fashions of the new 
year, by reason. Whatever is spontaneous, accidental, 
variable, self-dependent, whatever is objective, we must 
go out of ourselves to determine. And such, among 
other instances, is the force of language, suchi the use 
of formulas, such the value of theological terms. You 
learn pure English by reading classical authors and 
mixing in good society. Go then to those with whom 
such terms are familiar, who are masters of the science 
of them, and they will read the above sentence for you, 
not by reason, but by the usage of the Church ; and 
they will read it thus : — " If thou diest not now, but 
J time hence, this Indulgence will then avail thee, in 
the hour of death, that is, provided thou art then in a 
state oi grace.'''' 

* Keformation, vol. i. p. 27. 

Protection of the Protestant View. 349 

There is no prospective pardon in these words so ex- 
plained ; an indulgence has nothing to do with pardon; 
it presupposes pardon ; it is an additional remission 
upon and after pardon, being the remission of the 
arrears of suffering due from those who are already- 
pardoned. If on receipt of this Indulgence the recipient 
rushed into sin, the benefit of the Indulgence would be 
at least suspended, till he repented, went to confession, 
gained a new spirit, and was restored to God's favour. 
If he was found in this state of pardon and grace at the 
point of death, then it would avail him at the point of 
death. Then, that pardon which his true repentance 
would gain him in the sacrament of penance, would be 
crowned by the further remission of punishment through 
the Indulgence, certainly not otherwise. If, however, a 
controversialist says that an ordinary Catholic cannot 
possibly understand all this, that is a question of fact, 
not of reason ; it does not stand to reason that he cannot ; 
reason does not come in here. I do not say that an 
ordinary layman will express himself with theological 
accuracy, but he knows perfectly well that an Indul- 
gence is no pardon for prospective sin, that it is no 
standing pardon for a state of sin. If you think he 
does not, come and see. That is my key-note from first 
to last ; come and see, instead of remaining afar off, 
and judging by reason. 

There are Protestant books explaining difficult pas- 
sages of the Old Testament by means of present manners 
and customs among the Orientals ; a very sensible 
proceeding, and well deserving of imitation by Protest- 
ants in the case before us : let our obscure words and 

350 Ignorance Concerning Catholics the 

forms be interpreted by the understandings and habits 
of the Catholic people. On the other hand, in Dean 
Swift's well-known tale, you have an account of certain 
philosophers of Laputa, who carried their head under 
their arm. These sagacious persons seldom made direct 
use of their senses, but acted by reason ; a tailor, for 
instance, who has to measure for a suit of clothes, I 
think, is described, not as taking out his measures, 
but his instruments, quadrant, telescope, and the like. 
He measured a man as he would measure a mountain 
or a bog ; and he ascertained his build and his carriage 
as he might determine the right ascension of Sirius or 
the revolution of a comet. It was but a vulgar way to 
handle and turn about the living subject who was 
before him ; so our Laputan retreated, pulled out his 
theodolite instead of his slips of parchment, and made an 
observation from a distance. It was a grand idea to 
make a coat by private judgment and a theodolite; 
and, depend upon it, when it came home it did not fit. 
Our Protestants wield the theodolite too ; they keep at a 
convenient distance from us, take the angles, calculate 
the sines and cosines, and work out an algebraic process, 
when common sense would bid them ask us a few ques- 
tions. They observe latitude and longitude, the dip of 
the needle, the state of the atmosphere ; our path is an 
orbit, and our locus is expressed by an equation. They 
communicate with us by gestures, as you talk to the 
deaf and dumb ; and they are more proud of doing 
something, right or wrong, by a ceremony of this kind, 
which is their own doing, than of having the learning 
of the Benedictines or the Bollandists, if they are to go 
to school for it. 

Protection of the Protestant View. 351 

Open their tracts or pamphlets at random, and you 
will not have long to look for instances ; — a priest is 
told one afternoon, that a parishioner wishes to go to 
confession. He breaks off what he is doing, disap- 
pointed, perhaps, at the interruption, rushes into 
church, takes up his stole, and turns his ear towards his 
penitent. It is altogether a matter of routine work with 
him, with a lifting up indeed of the heart to his Maker 
and Lord, but still a matter too familiar to make any 
great impression on him, beyond that of his knowing 
he is called to a serious duty, which he must discharge 
to the best of his ability. A Scripture reader, or some 
such personage, opens the door, and peeps in ; he per- 
ceives what is going on, and stands gazing. What is 
his comment ? I wish I had kept the paragraph, as I 
read it ; but it was to this effect, — " I saw a priest with 
a poor wretch at his feet — ^how like a god he looked ! " 
Can anything, my Brothers, be more unreal, more 
fantastic ? Yet all this comes of standing gazing at 
the door. 

How many are the souls, in distress, anxiety, or 
loneliness, whose one need is to find a being to whom 
they can pour out their feelings unheard by the world ? 
Tell them out they must ; they cannot tell them out to 
those whom they see every hour. They want to tell 
them and not to tell them ; and they want to tell them 
out, yet be as if they be not told; they wish to tell 
them to one who is strong enough to bear them, yet not 
too strong to despise them ; they wish to tell them to 
one who can at once advise and can sympathise with 
them ; they wish to relieve themselves of a load, to gain 
a solace, to receive the assurance that there is one who 

352 Ignorance Concerning Catholics the 

thinks of them, and one to whom in thought they can 
recur, to whom they can betake themselves, if neces- 
sary, from time to time, while they are in the world. 
How many a Protestant's heart would leap at the news 
of such a benefit, putting aside all distinct ideas of a 
sacramental ordinance, or of a grant of pardon and the 
conveyance of grace ! If there is a heavenly idea in 
the Catholic Church, looking at it simply as an idea, 
surely, next after the Blessed Sacrament, Confession 
is such. And such is it ever found in fact, — the 
very act of kneeling, the low and contrite voice, the sign 
of the cross hanging, so to say, over the head bowed 
low, and the words of peace and blessing. Oh what a 
soothing charm is there, which the world can neither 
give nor take away ! Oh what piercing, heart-subduing 
tranquillity, provoking tears of joy, is poured, almost 
substantially and physically upon the soul, the oil of 
gladness, as Scripture calls it, when the penitent at 
length rises, his God reconciled to him, his sins rolled 
away for ever ! This is confession as it is in fact ; as 
those bear witness to it, who know it by experience ; 
what is it in the language of the Protestant? His 
language is, I may say, maniacal : listen to his ravings 
as far as I dare quote them, about what he knows just 
as much of as the blind know of colours : " If I could 
follow my heart wherever it would go," he cries about 
the priest, " I would go into his dark and damnable 
confessional, where my poor Roman Catholic country- 
men intrust their wives and daughters to him, 
under the awful delusion of false religion ; and, while 
the tyrant is pressing his . . infernal investigation, 
putting the heart and feeling of the helpless creature 

Protection of the Protestant View. 353 

on the moral rack, till slie sink enslaved and powerless 
at his feet, I would drag the victim forth in triumph 
from his grasp, and ring in the monster's ear, No 
Popery ! " 

These are the words of a fanatic ; but grave, sober 
men can in their own way say things quite as absurd, 
quite as opprobrious. There is a gentleman,* who, 
since these Lectures began, has opened a public corres- 
pondence with me ; I quoted from him just now.f One 
of his principal points, to which he gave his confident 
adhesion, was this, that at least one in twelve of our 
Priests in large towns doubts or disbelieves. How did 
he prove it? A conscientious person does not advance 
grave charges against others, much less the gravest 
possible, without the best of reasons. Even to think 
ill of others, without sufficient cause, is, in a Catholic's 
estimation, an offence ; but to speak out to the world a 
proposition such as this, distinctly to accuse his neigh- 
bour of the worst of crimes, is either a great duty or a 
great sin. The proof, too, should be proportionate to 
the imputation. And that the more, because he went 
further than I have yet said : he actually singled out a 
place ; he named Birmingham, and he insinuated that 
such infidels or sceptics were found among the priests 
of this very town. Well, then, we must suppose he 
speaks on the best authority ; he has come to Birming- 
ham, he knows the priests, he has some distinct 
evidence. He accuses us of a sin which includes 
blasphemy, sacrilege, hypocrisy, fraud, and virtually 

* Mr Seeley, the reputed author of several able works. The wider 
hi5 name and his charge against us are circulated, the better for the 
ciTise of truth. Neither the one nor the other should be hushed up. 

t P. 339. 

354 Ignorance Concerning Catholics the • 

immorality, besides its own proper heinousness, which 
is of the first order, and he must have, of course, reason 
for what he says. What then is his method of proof? 
simply the Laputan. He brandishes his theodolite, he 
proves us to be proud rebels against our God, and odious 
impostors towards men, by mathematics ; he draws out 
a rule of three sum on paper, and leaves us to settle with 
it as we may. He argues, that, because France had a 
body of infidel priests in last century, who did not dis- 
guise themselves, because Spain had a knot of infidels 
who, iovfear of the Inquisition, did, therefore now in 
England, where nothing is /^<?ar(/ of infidelity, and where 
there is nothing to frighten it into silence, it exists in 
every large town. Moreover, because there were infidel 
priests in the special 18th century, therefore there are 
infidel priests in the 19th. Further, because there 
were in France fifty or sixty or a hundred infidels among 
380,000 ecclesiastics, and a sprinkling in Spain among 
125,000, that there are in England infidels now in the 
proportion of one to twelve. To this antecedent proof 
he added a few cases, true or false, at home or abroad, 
Avhich it was impossible to examine or refute, of a pro- 
fessedly recent date ; and on these grounds he ventured 
forth with his definite assertion, simply satisfied of its 
truth, its equity, and its charitableness. 

And now for something, if not more wonderful, at 
least more observable still. After thus speaking, he was 
surprised I should consider it " a charge^'' and a charge 
against the priests of Birmingham. He complains, 
that is, that I have given 2i personal turn to his assertion. 
Ah, true ; I ought to have remembered that Catholic 
priests, in the judgment of a good Protestant, are not 

Protection of the Protestant View. 355 

persons at all. I had forgotten what I have already 
said in the First of these Lectures ; we are not men, we 
have not characters to lose, we have not feelings to be 
wounded, we have not friends, we have not penitents, we 
have not congregations; we have nothing personal about 
us, we are not the fellow-creatures of our accusers, we are 
not gentlemen, we are not Christians ; we are abstrac- 
tions, we are shadows, we are heraldic emblazonments, 
we are the griffins and wiverns of the old family picture, 
we are stage characters with a mask and a dagger, we are 
mummies from Egypt or antediluvian ornithorhynchi, 
we are unresisting ninepins, to be set up and knocked 
down by every mischievous boy ; we are the John Doe 
and Eichard Eoe of the lawyers, the Titius and Bertha 
of the canonists, who come forth for every occasion, 
and are to endure any amount of abuse or misfortune. 
Did the figures come down from some old piece of 
tapestry, or were a lion rampant from an inn door 
suddenly to walk the streets, a Protestant would not be 
more surprised than at the notion that we have nerves, 
that we have hearts, that we have sensibilities. For 
we are but the frogs in the fable; ''What is your sport," 
they said to the truant who was pelting them, " is our 
destruction : " yes, it is our portion from the beginning, 
it is our birthright, though not quite our destruction, to 
be the helots of the pride of the world. 


But more remains to be said. It often may happen, 

in matters of research, not indeed when the rule of 

charity comes in, but in philosophical subjects and the 

like, that men are obliged to make use of indirect 

356 Ignorance Concerning Catholics the 

reasonings, in default of testimony and fact. That 
was not so here. There was evidence, to a considerable 
extent, the other way. Now observe this, my Brothers. 
You know how anxious the Protestant world is to get 
hold of any priest who has left the Catholic body. 
Why? because he would tell them facts about it; 
certainly Protestants are not always indifferent about 
facts ; that is, when they hope they will tell against us. 
Well, they go to this priest or that monk, who has 
transferred himself to Protestantism, in order to get 
all the information about us they can. Now are Pro- 
testantizing priests and monks the only evidence of 
the kind which they could obtain on the subject? 
Frenchmen who come from France are evidence about 
France ; but are not Englishmen who go to France 
evidence too ? If some persons come from Rome, have 
none gone to Rome ? and have not they too something 
to offer in the way of evidence ? Yes, surely, they have 
much to say about Catholic priests. It was offered by 
myself to the gentleman of whom I have been speaking; 
it was offered, and it was not accepted. He who could 
argue by wholesale from some mere instance of a Catholic 
Priest who had become a Protestant, would learn 
nothing from the direct avowals of a Protestant who had 
become a Catholic Priest. The one was the pregnant 
germ of an arbitrary deduction, the other was no credible 
testimony to a matter of fact. 

Now, my Brothers, I should not insist on all this, if 
it merely related to any personal matter of mine ; but, 
you see, it affords a very observable illustration of the 
point on which I am insisting — viz., that to know 
Catholics is the best refutation of what is said against 

Protection of the Protestant View. 357 

them. You are aware, then, that a number of highly 
educated Protestants have of late years joined the 
Catholic Church. K their former co-religionists de- 
sired to have some real and good information what 
Catholics are like, they could not have better than that 
which these persons had to offer. They had belonged 
to a system which allowed of the largest private 
judgment, and they had made use of their liberty. 
They had made use of it first to reject the Protestantism 
of the day, and to recur back to another form of Pro- 
testantism which was in some repute two hundred 
years ago. Further, they used their liberty to attack 
the See of Rome, so firmly were they persuaded that 
the Popedom was not a divine institution. No one can 
say they did not enter into the feelings of suspicion 
and jealousy which Protestants entertain towards Rome. 
For myself, though I never, as I believe, spoke against 
individuals, I felt and expressed this deep suspicion 
about the system ; and it would be well indeed for 
Catholicism in this country, if every Protestant but 
studied it with a tenth part of the care which I have 
bestowed on the examination and expression of Protest- 
ant arguments and views. Well, the private judgment 
of these men went on acting, for a Protestant can have 
no guide but it ; and to their surprise, as time pro- 
ceeded, they found it bringing them nearer to the 
Catholic Church, and at length it fairly brought them 
into it. What did Protestants say then ? Why, they 
said that the same private judgment which had led 
tiiem into the Catholic Church, would, in course of 
time, lead them out of it. They said, too, that these 
new Catholics, when they came to see what Catholics 

35S Ignorance Concernmg Catholics the 

were like, would be unable to stop among them. Mind, 
they put it to this test ; this was their issue ; they left 
the decision of the question to the event ; they knew 
that the persons of whom they spoke were honest men ; 
they knew that they had given up a great deal to 
become Catholics ; they were sure that they would not 
take part in an imposition : and therefore they said, 
" Let them go, they will soon come back ; let them go 
to Rome itself, they are sure to be disgusted ; they will 
meet at Rome, and in France, and in England, and 
everywhere, infidel priests by the bushel, and will tire 
of their new religion. And besides, they will soon 
begin to doubt about it themselves ; their private 
judgment will not submit to all they will have to 
believe, and they will go out of Catholicism as they 
came into it." 

You observe, then, my Brothers, that our testimony is 
not a common one, it has a claim to be heard ; it has been 
appealed to by anticipation, let it then be heard after 
the event. There is no doubt that the whole Protestant 
world would have made a great deal of our dropping off 
from the Catholic body ; why, then, ought it not to be 
struck by the fact of our continuing in it, being dutiful 
and loyal to it, and finding our rest in it? You know 
perfectly well Protestants would have listened greedily, 
if we had left and borne witness against it; why, then, 
ought they not in consistency to listen seriously when we 
glory in it, and bear witness for it ? Who in the whole 
world are likely to be more trustworthy witnesses of the 
fact, whether or not one in twelve of our town priests 
disbelieves or doubts, than these converts, men of educa- 
tion, of intelligence, of independent minds, who have 

Protectio7i of the Protestant View. 359 

their eyes about them, who are scattered to and fro 
through all the country, who are, some of them, priests 
themselves ? Is there any one who knows us personally 
who will dare to say we are not to be believed, not to be 
trusted ? no : only those who know us not. But so it 
is to be ; our evidence is to be put aside, and the 
Laputan method to carry the day. Catholics are to be 
surveyed from without, not inspected from within : 
texts and formulas are to prevail over broad and 
luminous facts. There is a story of a logician at some 
place of learning, who, as he was walking one evening 
past the public library, was hailed by an unfortunate 
person from one of its windows, who told him he had 
been locked in by mistake when it closed, and begged 
him to send to his relief the official who kept the keys. 
Our logician is said to have looked at him attentively, 
pronounced the following syllogism, and walked away : 
" No man can be in the library after 4 o'clock p.m. 
You are a man : therefore you are not in the library." 
And thus Catholic priests are left duly locked up by 
Barbara or Celarent, because, forsooth, one grain of 
Protestant logic is to weigh more than cartloads of 
Catholic testimony. 

No, if our opponents would decide the matter by 
testimony, if they would submit their assertions to the 
ordeal of facts, their cause is lost ; so they prefer much 
to go by prejudices, arbitrary principles, and texts. 
Evidence they can have to satisfy for the asking ; but 
what boots it to pipe and sing to the deaf, or to convince 
the self-satisfied heart against its will? One there was 
who left the Protestant religion under circumstances 

360 Ignorance Concerning Catholics the 

different from any to which I have hitherto alluded. He 
never joined in the religious movement which has brought 
so many to the Church ; nay, he wrote against that move- 
ment; he wrote, not in bitterness and contempt, as 
many have done, and do, but as a gentleman and a man 
of serious principle ; he wrote against myself. But, 
though he started from so different a point, he, too, came 
near the Church, he, too, entered it. He did so at a 
great sacrifice; he had devoted a great part of his fortune 
to the building of a Protestant church. It was all but 
finished when the call came ; he rose and obeyed it, 
and had to leave his means of subsistence behind him, 
turned into stone. He came into the Catholic Church, 
and he remains a layman in it. See, then, here is a 
witness altogether different : ought not this to content 
our enemies ? or are the boys in the market-place still 
to cry to them, " We have piped to you, and you have 
not danced ; we have lamented, and you have not 
mourned ? " Are they suspicious of those who belonged 
to a certain movement before they became Catholics ? 
here is one who opposed it : are they suspicious of a 
convert priest? here is a convert layman. Now he 
liappens, some years after his conversion, to have 
written an account of his experience of the Catholic 
Religion ; how many of our enemies have had the grace 
— I can use no lighter term — have had the grace to 
look into it ? Yet what possible reason can they give 
for having neglected to study and to profit by it ? It 
is the grave testimony of one, in whom, as in that illus- 
trious witness of old in a heathen country, " no cause 
nor suspicion " can be found, " unless concerning the 
law of his God." 

Protection of the Protestant View. 361 

" I came," he says, and he shall conclude this Lecture 
for me, " forced by my convictions, and almost against 
my will, into this mighty community, whose embrace I 
had all my life dreaded as something paralyzing, en- 
slaving, and torturing. No sooner, however, could T 
look around me, and mark what presented itself to my 
eyes, than I saw that I was in a world where all was as 
satisfying as it was new. For the first time I met with 
a body of men and women, who could talk and act as 
Christians, without cant, without restraint, without 
formality, without hypocrisy. After years and years of 
disappointment, in which the more deeply I saw into 
the hearts and lives of Protestants of every class, the 
more clearly I perceived that the religion they professed 
had not become their second nature, but was a thing 
put on, which did not fit them, which confined their 
movements, and gave them an outward look, while it 
was not wrought into the depth of their being, — after 
years and years of this disappointment, in which the 
contrast between the Bible, which they praised, and 
the spirit of their own lives, and the doctrines they 
preached struck me more bitterly each succeeding day, 
at length I found myself in the midst of a race, with 
whom Christianity was not a rule, but a principle ; not 
a restraint, but a second nature ; not a bondage, but a 
freedom ; in which it had precisely that efiect which it 
claims to produce upon man ; in which not a few hours, 
or an occasional day, was set apart for religion, but in 
which life was religious : in which men spoke at all 
hours, and in all occupations, of religious things, 
naturally, as men speak of secular things in which they 
are deeply interested ; in which religious thoughts and 

362 Ignorance Concerning Catholics the 

short prayers were found not incompatible with the 
necessary duties and pleasures which fill up the road of 
existence ; and in which, the more deeply I was enabled 
to penetrate below the surface, the more genuine was 
the goodness which I found, and the more inexhaustible 
I perceived to be those treasures of grace, which Divine 
Goodness places at the disposal (so to say) of every 
soul that seeks them within this favoured communion. 
" And now, when so long a period has elapsed since 
my first submission to the Church, that everything like 
a sense of novelty has long passed away, and I have 
tested experimentally the value of all that she has to 
ofier ; now that I can employ her means of grace, and 
take a part in the working of her system, with all 
that ease and readiness which long practice alone can 
bestow ; the more profound is my sense of her divine 
origin, of the divine power which resides in her, and of 
the boundless variety and perfection of the blessings 
she has to bestow. The more I know her, the more 
complete do I perceive to be her correspondence to what 
she professes to be. She is exactly what the one Church 
of Christ is proclaimed to be in Scripture, and nothing 

less, and nothing more Truly can I say with the 

patriarch, ' The Lord is in this place, and I knew it 
not. This is no other than the house of God, and the 
gate of heaven.' The Catholic Church can be nothing 
less than the spiritual body of Jesus Christ. Nothing 
less than that adorable Presence, before which the 
Angels veil their faces, can make her what she is to 
those who are within her fold. Argument is needed no 
longer. The scofiings of the infidel, the objections of 
the Protestant, the sneers of the man of 'Oi\^ world, pass 

Protection of the Protestant View, 363 

over their heads, as clouds over a mountain peak, and 
leave them calm and undisturbed, with their feet rest- 
ing upon the Kock of ages. They know in whom they 
have believed. They have passed from speculation to 
action, and found that all is real, genuine, life-giving, 

and enduring I know only one fear — the fear 

that my heart may be faithless to Him who has bestowed 
on me this unspeakable blessing; I know only one 
mystery, which the more I think upon it, the more 
incomprehensible does it appear, — the mystery of that 
calling which brought 7ne into this house of rest, while 
millions and millions are still driven to and fro in the 
turbulent ocean of the world, without rudder, and with- 
out compass, without helmsman and without anchor, 
to drift before the gale upon the fatal shore."* 

* Capes's "Four Years' Experience of the Catholic Religion : Bums, 
London, 1849," pp. 92-95, Mr Capes returned to the Anglican Church 
in 1870, on occasion, I believe, of the definition by the Vatican Council 
of the Pope's Infallibility, but that change does not invailidate his testi- 
mony to matters of fact [Ed. 1872]. 



TN this concluding Lecture, my Brothers of the Oratory, 
-*- I shall attempt, in as few words as possible, to sum 
up what I have been showing in those which preceded 
it, and to set before you what I have proposed to myself 
in the investigation. 

You know, then, that at this time we are all in con- 
siderable anxiety, and some risk, as regards the future 
prospects of Catholicism in England. Open threats in 
the most influential quarters are put forward, as if we 
might even lose the rights of British subjects, and be 
deprived of the free exercise of our religion. There has 
been an attempt to put our convents, in the eye of the 
law, on a level with madhouses ; and one of the Angli- 
can Prelates in Parliament has constituted himself 
judge whether the dimensions of our churches were 
suflScient or too large for the " accommodation," to 
use the Protestant word, of our people. A bill, too, 
has been passed, about which all of us know enough, 
without my having the trouble to give it any desig- 

Duties of Catholics, &c. 365 

The duty of tlie Catholic Church is to preach to the 
world ; and her promise and prerogative is success in 
preaching ; but this is a subject which has not come 
into the scope of our discussions in this place. What 
I have been saying has no direct reference to any such 
end. I have not urged it on you, as I well might, in 
the case of those who, like you, love their religion so 
well, that they wish others to enjoy the benefit of it 
with them. What I have said, however, does not pre- 
suppose this ; it has not sprung out of any duty that 
we have of extending the limits of the Catholic pale ; 
it would not have been superseded, if we had no such 
duty. I have not been aiming at the conversion of any 
persons, who are not Catholics, who have heard me ; I 
have not been defending Catholic, or attacking Protest- 
ant doctrines, except indirectly and incidentally. The 
condition or hypothesis with which I have been entering 
into the discussion has been the present anti-Catholic 
agitation ; and my object has been that of self-defence 
with reference to it. In the present state of things 
Catholics must, from the mere instinct of self-preserv- 
ation, look about them ; they are assailed by a very 
formidable party, or power, as I should rather call it, 
in this country ; by its Protestantism. In the Protes- 
tantism of the country I do not include, of course, all 
who are not Catholics. By Protestants I mean the 
heirs of the traditions of Elizabeth ; I mean the country 
gentlemen, the Whig political party, the Church Esta- 
blishment, and the Wesleyan Conference. I cannot 
over-estimate their power : they and their principles are 
established; yet I should be unjust, on the other hand, 
to whole classes in the community if I made this Eliza- 

366 Duties of Catholics 

betlian Protestantism synonymous with the mind and 
the philosophy of the whole country. However, it is a 
tremendous power, and we are menaced by it ; this is 
the condition of things ; what must we do ? put our- 
selves on the defensive ; this, then, has been my scope. 
I have not been aggressive, but on the defensive ; and 
what is the first step of those who are getting ready 
for their defence against a foe ? to reconnoitre him. It 
is simply this that I have been engaged upon in these 

This, I say, has been my object, a reconnoitring or 
survey of a strong and furious enemy, undertaken with 
a view to self-defence. And I report as follows : — 


I find he is in a very strong position, but that he 
takes a very incorrect view of us, and that this is his 
strength and our danger. Different from the case of 
actual warfare, in which ignorance is weakness, here 
ignorance is power ; and in truth he does know as little 
about us as well can be conceived. He has got old 
pictures and old maps made years and years ago, which 
have come down to him from his fathers ; and instead 
of deigning to look at us, and learn anything about us, 
he adheres to them as if it were a point of faith to do so. 
This was the subject of my first Lecture ; I showed that 
the English Elizabethan Protestant had a view of our 
monks, Jesuits, and Church, quite his own, unlike that 
of his more learned brethren abroad ; and moreover, 
that he was apparently ignorant of the existence of any 
view besides it, or that it was possible for any sane man 
to doubt it, or any honest man to deny it. Next came 

Towards the Protestant View. 367 

tlie cause of this phenomenon, and it was this : — Pro- 
testantism is established in the widest sense of the word ; 
its doctrine, religious, political, ecclesiastical, moral, is 
placed in exclusive possession of all the high places of 
the land. It is forced upon all persons in station and 
oflSce, or almost all, under sanction of an oath ; it is 
endowed with the amplest estates, and with revenues 
supplied by Government and by chartered and other 
bodies. It has innumerable fine churches, planted up 
and down in every town, and village, and hamlet in the 
land. In consequence, every one speaks Protestantism, 
even those who do not in their hearts love it ; it is the 
current coin of the realm. As English is the natural 
tongue, so Protestantism is the intellectual and moral 
language of the body politic. The Queen ex officio 
^leaks Protestantism; so does the court, so do her 
ministers. All but a small portion of the two Houses of 
Parliament; and those who do not are forced to apologise 
for not speaking it, and to speak as much of it as they 
conscientiously can. The Law speaks Protestantism, 
and the Lawyers ; and the State Bishops and clergy of 
course. All the great authors of the nation, the multi- 
tudinous literature of the day, the public press, speak 
Protestantism. Protestantism the Universities; Pro- 
testantism the schools, high, and low, and middle. 
Thus there is an incessant, unwearied circulation of 
Protestantism all over the whole country, for 365 days 
in the year from morning till night ; and this, for 
nearly three centuries, has been almost one of the 
functions of national life. As the pulse, the lungs, the 
absorbents, the nerves, the pores of the animal body, 
are ever at their work, as that motion is its life, so in 

368 Duties of Catholics 

the political structure of the country there is an action 
of the life of Protestantism, constant and regular. It 
is a vocal life ; and in this consists its perpetuation, its 
reproduction. What it utters, it teaches, it propagates 
by uttering ; it is ever impressing itself, diffusing itself 
all around ; it is ever transmitting itself to the rising 
generation ; it is ever keeping itself fresh, and young, 
and vigorous, by the process of a restless agitation. 
This, then, is the elementary cause of the view which 
Englishmen are accustomed to take of Catholicism 
and its professors. They survey us in the light of 
their Tradition ; and this was the subject of my second 

Well, but you will ask. Have Catholics nothing to 
say for themselves ? yes, a great deal, but we have no 
opportunity of saying it. The public will not recog- 
nise us ; it interrupts and put us down. Men close 
their ears and throw up dust in the air when we begin 
to speak ; they close their eyes when we come forward, 
and begin pelting us at random. Far less will they 
come near us, and ask us questions, and listen to our 
answers. This was the subject of my foregoing or 
eighth Lectm'e ; in which I had not time to say nearly 
as much as I had intended. I could have shown you, 
how first, Protestants got rid of Catholicism from the 
kingdom as a worship ; how next, the Catholics who 
remained they put under crushing laws; how every 
priest who said mass or exercised any function on 
English ground was liable to perpetual imprisonment, 
and any foreign priest, who was subject to the crown of 
England, coming into England was guilty of high 
treason, and all who harboured him, of felony. I could 

Towards the Protestant View. 369 

have told you how that converting or being converted 
to Catholicism was high treason; how no Catholic 
was allowed to inherit or purchase land ; no Catholic 
could hear mass without fine and imprisonment; no 
Catholic might keep school under pain of imprisonment 
for life ; nor might, in default of schools at home, send 
a child abroad for education, without forfeiting all his 
estates, goods, and chattels, and incurring a civil out- 
lawry ; moreover, how, if a Catholic did not attend the 
established worship, he was not allowed to come within 
ten miles of London, nor could travel five miles from 
home, or bring any action at law ; and how he might 
not be married or buried, or have his children baptized, 
by any but ministers of the Established Church. I 
am not quoting these laws with a view to expose their 
wholesale cruelty and tyranny, though I might well do 
so; but in order to show you how impossible it was for 
Catholics to defend themselves, when they were denied 
even to speak. You see, the Protestant Tradition had 
it all its own way ; Elizabeth, and her great men, and 
her preachers, killed and drove away all the Catholics 
they could ; knocked down the remainder, and then at 
their leisure proved unanswerably and triumphantly 
the absurdity of Popery, and the heavenly beauty and 
perfection of Protestantism. Never did we undergo so 
utter and complete a refutation ; we had not one word 
to utter in our defence. When she had thus beaten 
the breath out of us, and made us simply ridiculous, 
she put us on our feet again, thrust us into a chair, 
hoisted us up aloft, and carried us about as a sort of 
Guy Faux, to show to all the boys and riff-raff' of the 
towns what a Papist was like. Then, as if this were 


370 Duties of Catholics 

not enough, lest any one should come and ask us any- 
thing about our religion, she and her preachers put it 
about that we had the plague, so that, for fear of a 
moral infection, scarce a soul had the courage to look 
at us, or breathe the same air with us. 

This was a fair beginning for the Protestantising 
of the people, and everything else that was needed 
followed in due time, as a matter of course. Protest- 
antism being taught everywhere, Protestant principles 
were taught with it, which are necessarily the very 
reverse of Catholic principles. The consequence was 
plain — viz. , that even before the people heard a Catholic 
open his mouth, they were forearmed against what he 
would say, for they had been taught this or that as 
if a precious truth, belief in which was ipso facto the 
disbelief and condemnation of some Catholic doctrine 
or other. When a person goes to a fever ward, he takes 
some essence with him to prevent his catching the 
disorder ; and of this kind are the anti-Catholic prin- 
ciples in which Protestants are instructed from the 
cradle. For instance, they are taught to get by heart, 
without any sort of proof, as a kind of alphabet or 
spelling lesson, such propositions as these: — "miracles 
have ceased long ago ; " "all truth is in the Bible;" 
" any one can understand the Bible ; " " all penance is 
absurd ; " "a priesthood is pagan, not Christian," and 
a multitude of others. These are universally taught 
and accepted, as if equally true and equally important, 
as are the principles " it is wrong to murder or thieve," 
or "there is a judgment to come." When then a 
person sets out in life with these maxims as a sort 
of stock in trade in all religious speculations, and 

Towards the Protestant View. 371 

encounters Catholics, whose opinions hitherto he had 
known nothing at all about, you see he has been made 
quite proof against them, and unsusceptible of their 
doctrines, their worship, and their reasoning, by the 
preparation to which he has been subjected. He feels 
an instinctive repugnance to everything Catholic, by 
reason of these arbitrary principles, which he has been 
taught to hold, and which he thinks identical with 
reason. " What? you have priests in your religion ; " 
he says ; " but do you not know, are you so behind the 
world as not to know, that priests are pagan, not 
Christian?" And sometimes he thinks that, directly 
he has uttered some such great maxim, the Catholic 
will turn Protestant at once, or, at least, ought to do so, 
and if he does not, is either dull or hypocritical. And 
so again, " You hold saints are to be invoked, but the 
practice is not in the Bible, and nothing is true that is 
not there." And again, "They say that in Ireland and 
elsewhere the priests impose heavy penances ; but this 
is against common sense, for all penances are absurd." 
Thus the Protestant takes the whole question for granted 
on starting ; — and this was the subject of my seventh 

This fault of mind I called Assumption or Theoris- 
ing; and another quite as great, and far more odious, is 
Prejudice ; and this came into discussion in the sixth 
Lecture. The perpetual talk against Catholicism, which 
goes on everywhere, in the higher classes, in literary 
circles, in the public press, and in the Protestant Church 
and its various dependencies, makes an impression, or 
fixes a stain, which it is continually deepening, on the 
minds which are exposed to its influence ; and thus, 

372 Duties of Catholics 

quite independent of any distinct reasons and facts for 
thinking so, the multitude of men are quite certain that 
something very horrible is going on among Catholics. 
They are convinced that we are all but fiends, so that 
there is no doubt at all, even before going into the 
matter, that all that is said against us is true, and all 
that is said for us is false. 

These, then, are the two special daughters, as they 
may be called, of the Protestant Tradition, Theory or 
Assumption on the one hand, and Prejudice on the 
other, — Theory which scorns us, and Prejudice which 
hates us ; yet, though coming of one stock, they are 
very dijQferent in their constitution, for Theory is of so 
ethereal a nature, that it needs nothing to feed upon ; 
it lives on its own thoughts, and in a world of its own, 
whereas Prejudice is ever craving for food, victuals are 
in constant request for its consumption every day ; and 
accordingly they are served up in unceasing succession, 
Titus Gates, Maria Monk, and Jeffreys, being the pur- 
veyors, and platform and pulpit speakers being the 
cooks. And this formed the subject of the third, fourth, 
and fifth Lectures. 

Such, then, is Popular Protestantism, considered in 
its opposition to Catholics. Its truth is Establishment 
by law ; its philosophy is Theory ; its faith is Prejudice ; 
its facts are Fictions ; its reasonings Fallacies ; and 
its security is Ignorance about those whom it is 
opposing. The Law says that white is black ; Ignor- 
ance says, why not? Theory says it ought to be, 
Fallacy says it must be. Fiction says it is, and Pre- 
judice says it shall be. 

Towards the Proles tanl View. 2>7o 


And now, what are our duties at this moment towards 
this enemy of ours ? How are we to bear ourselves 
towards it? what are we to do with it? what is to 
come of the survey we have taken of it ? with what 
practical remark and seasonable advice am I to conclude 
this attempt to determine our relation to it? The 
lesson we gain is obvious and simple, but as difficult, 
you will say, as it is simple ; for the means and the 
end are almost identical, and in executing the one, 
we have already reached the other. Protestantism is 
fierce, because it does not know you ; ignorance is its 
strength ; error is its life. Therefore bring yourselves 
before it, press yourselves upon it, force yourselves into 
notice against its will. Oblige men to know you; 
persuade them, importune them, shame them into know- 
ing you. Make it so clear what you are, that they 
cannot affect not to see you, nor refuse to justify you. 
Do not even let them off with silence, but give them no 
escape from confessing that you are not what they have 
thought you were. They will look down, they will look 
aside, they will look in the air, they will shut their 
eyes, they will keep them shut. They will do all in 
their power not to see you ; the nearer you come, they 
will close their eyelids all the tighter ; they will be very 
angry and frightened, and give the alarm as if you 
were going to murder them. They will do anything but 
look at you. They are, many of them, half conscious 
they have been wrong, but fear the consequences of 
becoming sure of it ; they will think it best to let things 
alone, and to persist in injustice for good and all, since 

374 Duties of Catholics 

they have been for so long a time committed to it; they 
will be too proud to confess themselves mistaken ; they 
prefer a safe cruelty to an inconvenient candour. I 
know it is a most grave problem how to touch so 
intense an obstinacy, but, observe, if you once touch it, 
you have done your work. There is but one step 
between you and success. It is a steep step, but it is 
one. It is a great thing to know your aim, to be saved 
from wasting your energies in wrong quarters, to be 
able to concentrate them on a point. You have but to 
aim at making men look steadily at you ; when they do 
this, I do not say they will become Catholics, but they 
will cease to have the means of making you a by- word 
and a reproach, of inflicting on you the cross of un- 
popularity. Wherever Catholicism is known, it is 
respected, or at least endured, by the people. Poli- 
ticians and philosophers, and the established clergy, 
would be against you, but not the people, if it knew 
you. A religion which comes from God approves itself 
to the conscience of the people, wherever it is really 

I am not advocating, as you will see presently, any- 
thing rude in your bearing, or turbulent, or offensive ; 
but first I would impress upon you the end you have to 
aim at. Your one and almost sole object, I say, must 
be, to make yourselves known. This is what will do 
everything for you : it is what your enemies will try 
by might and main to hinder. They begin to have 
a suspicion that Catholicism, known to be what it 
really is, will be their overthrow. They have hitherto 
cherished a most monstrous idea about you. They have 
thought, not only that you were the vilest and basest 

Towards the Protestant View. 375 

of men, tut that you were fully conscious of it your- 
selves, and conscious, too, that they knew it. They 
have fancied that you, or at least your priests, indulged 
in the lowest sensuality, and practised the most impu- 
dent hypocrisy, and were parties to the most stupid 
and brutish of frauds ; and that they dared not look a 
Protestant in the face. Accordingly, they have con- 
sidered, and have thought us quite aware ourselves, that 
we were in the country only on sufferance ; that we 
were like reputed thieves and other bad characters, who, 
for one reason or another, are not molested in their 
dens of wickedness, and enjoy a contemptuous toler- 
ation, if they keep within bounds. And so, in like 
manner, they have thought that there was evidence 
enough at any moment to convict us, if they were pro- 
voked to it. What would be their astonishment, if 
one of the infamous persons I have supposed stood 
upon his rights, or obtruded himself into the haunts of 
fashion and good breeding? Fancy, then, how great has 
been their indignation, that we Catholics should pretend 
to be Britons ; should affect to be their equals ; should 
dare to preach, nay, to controvert; should actually make 
converts, nay, worse and worse, not only should point 
out their mistakes, but, prodigious insolence I should 
absolutely laugh at the absurdity of their assertions, 
and the imbecility of their arguments. They are at first 
unable to believe their ears, when they are made sen- 
sible that we, who know so well our own worthlessness, 
and know that they know it, who deserve at the least 
the hulks or transportation, talk as loudly as we do, 
refuse to be still, and say that the more we are known, 
the more we shall be esteemed. We, who ought to go 

37^ Duties of Catholics 

sneaking about, to crouch at their feet, and to keep our 
eyes on the ground, from the consciousness of their 
hold upon us, — is it madness, is it plot, what is it, 
which inspires us with such unutterable presumption? 
They have the might and the right on their side. They 
could confiscate our property, they could pack us all 
out of the kingdom, they could bombard Rome, they 
could fire St Peter's, they could batter down the Coli- 
seum, they could abolish the Papacy, if they pleased. 
Passion succeeds, and then a sort of fear, such as a 
brutal master might feel, who breaks into fury at the 
first signs of spirit in the apprentice he has long ill- 
treated, and then quails before him as he gets older. 
And then how white becomes their wrath, when men 
of their own rank, men of intelligence, men of good 
connections, their relations or their friends, leave them 
to join the despised and dishonoured company ! And 
when, as time goes on, more and more such instances 
occur, and others are unsettled, and the old landmarks 
are removed, and all is in confusion, and new questions 
and parties appear in the distance, and a new world is 
coming in, — when what they in their ignorance thought 
to be nothing turns out to be something, they know 
not what, and the theodolite of Laputa has utterly 
failed, they quake with apprehension at so mysterious 
a vi.><itation, and they are mad with themselves for hav- 
ing ever qualified their habitual contempt with some 
haughty generosity towards us. A proud jealousy, a 
wild hate, and a perplexed dismay, almost choke them 
with emotion. 

All this because they have not taken the trouble to 
know us as we are in fact : — however, you would think 

Towards the Protestant View. 2>77 

that they had at last gained an opening for informa- 
tion, when those whom they have known become the 
witnesses of what we are. Never so little ; the friends 
who have left them are an embarrassment to them, not 
an illumination ; an embarrassment, because they do 
but interfere with their received rule " and practice of 
dealing with us. It is an easy thing to slander those 
who come of the old Catholic stock, because such 
persons are unknown to the world. They have lived 
all their days in tranquil fidelity to the creed of their 
forefathers, in their secluded estate, or their obscure 
mission, or tlieir happy convent ; they have cultivated 
no relations with the affairs or the interests of the day, 
and have never entered into the public throng of men 
to gain a character. They are known, in their simpli- 
city and innocence and purity of heart, and their con- 
scientiousness of life, to their God, to their neighbour, 
and to themselves, not to the world at large. If any one 
would defame them, he may do it with impunity; their 
name is not known till it is slandered, and they have 
no antecedents to serve as a matter for an appeal. 
Here, then, is the fit work for those prudent slanderers, 
who would secure themselves from exposure, while they 
deal a blow in defence of the old Protestant Tradition. 
Were a recent convert, whose name is before the world, 
accused of some definite act of tyranny or baseness, he 
knows how to write and act in his defence, and he 
has a known reputation to protect him ; therefore, ye 
Protestant champions, if there be an urgent need at 
the moment for some instance of Catholic duplicity or 
meanness, be sure to shoot your game sitting ; keep 
yourselves under cover, choose some one who can be 

S7^ Duties of Catholics 

struck without striking, whom it is easy to overhear, 
with whom it is safe to play the bully. Let it be a 
prelate of advanced age and of retired habits, or some 
gentle nun, whose profession and habits are pledges 
that she cannot retaliate. Triumph over the old man 
and the woman. Open your wide mouth, and collect 
your rumbling epithets, and round your pretentious 
sentences, and discharge your concentrated malignity, 
on the defenceless. Let it come down heavily on them 
to their confusion ; and a host of Avriters, in print and 
by the post, will follow up the outrage you have com- 
menced. But beware of the converts, for they are 
known ; and to them you will not be safe in imputing 
more than the ordinary infirmities of humanity. With 
them you must deal in the contrary way. Men of 
rank, men of station, men of ability, in short, men of 
name, what are we to do with them ! Cover them up, 
bury them; never mention them in print, unless a 
chance hint can be dropped to their disadvantage. 
Shake your heads, whisper about in society, and 
detail in private letters the great change which has 
come over them. They are not the same persons ; they 
have lost their fine sense of honour, and so suddenly, 
too; they are under the dominion of new and bad 
masters. Drop their acquaintance ; meet them and 
pass them by, and tell your friends you were so pained 
you could not speak to them ; be sure you do nothing 
whatever to learn from them anything about the 
Catholic faith ; know nothing at all about their move- 
ments, their objects, or their life. Read none of their 
books ; let no one read them who is under your influ- 
ence ; however, you may usefully insert in your news- 

Towards the Protestant View. 379 

papers half sentences from their writings, or any- 
passing report, which can be improved to their disad- 
vantage. Not a word more ; let not even their works 
be advertised. Ignore those who never can be ignored, 
never can be forgotten ; and all for this, — that by the 
violation of every natural feeling, and every sacred 
tie, you may keep up that profound ignorance of the 
Catholic Religion which the ascendency of Protestant- 
ism requires. 


These are but snatches and glimpses, my Brothers of 
the Oratory, of the actual state of the case ; of the 
intense determination of Protestants to have nothing 
to do with us, and nothing true to say of us ; and of 
the extreme arduousness of that task to which I think 
we should all direct our exertions. The post must be 
carried ; in it lies the fortune of the day. Our opponents 
are secretly conscious of it too ; else why should they 
so strenuously contest it? They must be made to 
know us as we are ; they must be made to know our 
religion as it is, not as they fancy it ; they must be 
made- to look at us, and they are overcome. This 
is the work which lies before you in your place and 
in your measure, and I would advise you about it 
thus : — 

Bear in mind, then, that, as far as defamation and 
railing go, your enemies have done their worst. There 
is nothing which they have not said, which they do 
not daily say, against your religion, your priests, and 
yourselves. They have exhausted all their weapons, 
and you have nothing to fear, for you have nothing to 

380 Duties of CatJiolics 

lose. Tliey call your priests distinctly liars : they can 
but cry the old fables over and over again, though they 
are sadly worse for wear. They have put you beyond the 
pale of civilized society ; they have made you the out- 
laws of public opinion ; they treat you, in the way of 
reproach and slander, worse than they treat the convict 
or the savage. You cannot in any way move them by 
smiles, or by tears, or by remonstrance. You can show 
them no attention ; you can give them no scandal. 
Court them, they are not milder; be rude to them, 
they cannot be more violent. You cannot make them 
think better of you, or worse. They hold no terms with 
you ; you have not even the temptation to concede to 
them. You have not the temptation to give and take ; 
you have not the temptation to disguise or to palter. 
You have the strength of desperation, and desperation 
does great things. They have made you turn to bay. 
Whatever occurs, if there be a change at all, it must be 
a change for the better : you cannot be disadvantaged 
by the most atrocious charges, for you are sure to be 
the objects of such, whatever you do. You are set loose 
from the fear of man : it is of no use to say to your- 
selves, "What will people say?" No, the Supreme 
Being must be your only Fear, as He is your only 

Next, look at the matter more closely ; it is not so 
bad as it seems. Who are these who obstinately refuse 
to know you? When I say, "They have done their 
worst," what is their " worst," and who are " they ? " 
This is an all-important question ; perhaps I shall have 
some difficulty in bringing out what I mean, but when 
you once get into my idea, there will be no degrees in 

Towards the Protestant View. 381 

your understanding it. Consider, then, that " they '* 
means, in the main, certain centres of influence 
in the metropolis ; first, a great proportion of mem- 
bers of both Houses of Parliament; next, the press; 
thirdly, the Societies whose haunt or home is Exeter 
Hall ; fourthly, the pulpits of the Establishment, and 
of a good part of the Dissenters. These are our accusers; 
these spread abroad their calumnies ; these are meant 
by " they." Next, what is their " worst ? " whom 
do they influence ? They influence the population of 
the whole of Great Britain, and the British Empire, so 
far as it is British and not Catholic ; and they influence 
it so as to make it believe that Catholicism and all 
Catholics are professed and habitual violators of the 
moral law, of the precepts of truth, honesty, purity, 
and humanity. If this be so, you may ask me what I 
can mean by saying that the " worst " is not so bad as 
it looks ? but after all, things might be much worse. 

Think a moment : what is it to me Avhat people think 
of me a hundred miles off, compared with what they 
think of me at home ? It is nothing to me what the 
four ends of the world think of me ; I care nought for 
the British Empire more than for the Celestial in this 
matter, provided I can be sure what Birmingham thinks 
of me. The question, I say, is. What does Birmingham 
think of me ? and if I have a satisfactory answer to 
that, I can bear to be without a satisfactory answer 
about any other town or district in England. This is 
a great principle to keep in view. 

And now I am coming to a second. I grant the 
whole power of the Metropolis is against us, and I grant 
it is quite out of the question to attempt to gain it over 

382 Duties of Catho lies 

on our side. It is true, there are various individual 
members of Parliament who are our co-religionists or 
our friends, but they are few among many ; there are 
newspapers which act generously towards us, but they 
form a small minority ; there are a few Protestant 
clergy who would be not quite carried away by the 
stream, if left to themselves. Granted : but still, I am 
forced to allow that the great metropolitan intellect 
cannot be reached by us, and for this simple reason, 
because you cannot confront it, you cannot make it 
know you. I said your victory was to lie in forcing 
upon others a personal knowledge of you, in your 
standing before your enemies face to face. But what 
face has a metropolitan journal? how are you to get at 
it ? how are you to look into it ? whom are you to look 
at? who is to look at you? No one is known in London; 
it is the realm of the incognito and the anonymous ; it 
is not a place, it is a region or a state. There is no such 
thing as local opinion in the metropolis ; mutual per- 
sonal knowledge, there is none ; neighbourhood, good 
fame, bad repute, there is none ; no house knows the 
next door. You cannot make an impression on such 
an ocean of units ; it has no disposition, no connection 
of parts. The great instrument of propagating moral 
truth is personal knowledge. A man finds himself in 
a definite place ; he grows up in it and into it; he draws 
persons around him ; they know him, he knows them ; 
thus it is that ideas are born which are to live, that 
works begin which are to last.* It is this personal 
knowledge of each other which is true public opinion ; 
local opinion is real public opinion ; but there is not, 

* Fide the author's Oxford University Sermons, No. V. 

Towards the Protestant View. 383 

there cannot be, such in London. How is a man to 
show what he is, when he is but a grain of sand out 
of a mass, without relations to others, without a place, 
without antecedents, without individuality ? Crowds 
pour along the streets, and, though each has his own 
character written on high, they are one and all the 
same to men below. And this impersonality, as it may 
be called, pervades the whole metropolitan system. A 
man, not known, writes a leading article against what ? 
— things? no; but ideas. He writes against Catho- 
licism : what is Catholicism ? can you touch it ? point 
at it ? no ; it is an idea before his mind. He clothes it 
with certain attributes, and forthwith it goes all over 
the country that a certain idea or vision, called Catho- 
licism, has certain other ideas, bad ones, connected 
with it. You see it is all a matter of ideas, and 
abstractions, and conceptions. Well, this leading 
article goes on to speak of certain individual Catholic 
priests ; still, does it see them ? point at them ? no, it 
does but give their names ; it is a matter, not of persons, 
but of names ; and those names, sure enough, go over 
the whole country and empire as the names of rogues, 
or of liars, or of tyrants, as the case may be ; while 
they themselves, the owners of them, in their own 
persons are not at all the worse for it, but eat, sleep, 
pray, and do their work, as freely and as easily as 
before. London cannot touch them, for words hurt no 
one ; words cannot hurt us, till — till when ? till they 
are taken up, believed, in the very place where we 
individually dwell. Ah ! this is a very different kind 
of public opinion ; it is local opinion ; I spoke of it just 
now, and it concerns us very nearly. 

384 Duties of Catholics 

I say, it is quite another thing when the statements 
which a metropolitan paper makes about me, and the 
empire believes, are actuallj'^ taken up in the place 
where I live. It is a very different thing, and a very 
serious matter ; but, observe the great principle we 
have arrived at ; it is this : — that popular opinion only 
acts through local opinion. The opinion of London can 
only act on an individual through the opinion of his 
own place ; metropolitan opinion can only act on me 
through Birmingham opinion. London abuses Catho- 
lics. " Catholic " is a word : where is the thing ? in 
Liverpool, in Manchester, in Birmingham, in Leeds, in 
Sheffield, in Nottingham. Did all the London papers 
prove that all Catholics were traitors, where must this 
opinion be carried out ? Not in the air, not in leading 
articles, not in an editor's room ; but in Liverpool, in 
Manchester, in Birmingham, in Leeds, in Sheffield, in 
Nottingham. So, in order to carry out your London 
manifesto, you must get the people of Birmingham, 
Manchester, and the rest, to write their names after it ; 
else, nothing comes of its being a metropolitan opinion, 
or an imperial opinion, or its being any other great idea 
whatever : — you must get Birmingham to believe it of 
Birmingham Catholics, and Manchester to believe it of 
Manchester Catholics. So, you see, these great London 
leading articles have only done half their work, or 
rather, have not begun it, by proving to the world that 
all Catholics are traitors, till they come out of their 
abstractions and generalities, and for the " world," are 
able to substitute Birmingham, Manchester, and Liver- 
pool ; and for " all Catholics," to substitute Catholics of 
Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool ; and to g^i each 

Towards the Protestant View. 385 

place in particular to accept what the great metropolis 
says, and the Empire believes, in the general. 

And now comes another important consideration : it 
is not at all easy to get a particular place, at the word 
of London, to accept about its own neighbourhood in 
particular what London says of all places in the 
general. Did London profess to tell us about the price 
of iron generally, if it gained its information from 
Birmingham, and other iron markets in particular, well 
and good; but if it came forward with great general 
views of its own, I suspect that Birmingham would 
think it had a prior voice in the question, and would 
not give up its views at the bidding of any metro- 
politan journal. And the case is the same as regards 
Catholicism : London may declaim about Catholics in 
general, but Birmingham will put in a claim to judge 
of them in particular ; and when Birmingham becomes 
the judge, London falls into the mere oflS.ce of accuser, 
and the accused may be heard in his defence. Thus, a 
Catholic of Birmingham can act on Birmingham, 
though he cannot act on London, and this is the 
important practical point to which I have been coming 
all along. I wish you to turn your eyes upon that 
local opinion, which is so much more healthy, English, 
and Christian than popular or metropolitan opinion ; 
for it is an opinion, not of ideas, but of things ; not of 
words, but of facts ; not of names, but of persons ; it 
is perspicuous, real, and sure. It is little to me, as far 
as my personal well-being is concerned, what is thought 
of Catholicism through the empire, or what is thought 
of me by the metropolis, if I know what is thought of 
me in Bh-mingham. London cannot act on me except 


386 Duties of Catholics 

through Birmingham, and Birmingham indeed can act 
on me, but I can act on Birmingham. Birmingham 
can look on me, and I can look on Birmingham. This 
is a place of persons, and a place of facts ; there is far 
more fairness in a place like this than in a metropolis, 
or at least fairness is uppermost. Newspapers are, 
from the nature of the case, and almost in spite of 
themselves, conducted here on a system more open and 
fairer than the metropolitan system. A Member of 
Parliament in London might say that I had two heads, 
and refuse to retract it, though I solemnly denied it ; 
it would not be believed in Birmingham. All the 
world might believe it ; it might be the theme of 
county meetings ; the Prime Minister might introduce 
it into the Queen's speech ; it might be the subject of 
most eloquent debates, and most exciting divisions ; it 
might be formally communicated to all the European 
courts ; the stocks might fall, a stream of visitors set 
in from Russia, Egypt, and the United States, at the 
news ; it would not be believed in Birmingham ; 
local opinion would carry it hollow against popular 

You see, then. Brothers of the Oratory, where your 
success lies, and how you are to secure it. Never mind 
the London press ; never mind Exeter Hall ; never 
mind perambulating orators or solemn meetings : let 
them alone, they do not affect local opinion. They are 
a blaze amid the stubble ; they glare, and they expire. 
Do not dream of converting the public opinion of 
London ; you cannot, and you need not. Look at 
home, there lies your work ; what you have to do, and 
what you can do, are one and the same. Prove to 

Towards the Protestant View. 387 

the people of Birmingham, as you can prove to them, 
that your priests and yourselves are not without con- 
science, or honour, or morality ; prove it to them, and 
it matters not though every man, woman, and child, 
within the London bills of mortality were of a different 
opinion. That metropolitan opinion would in that 
case be powerless, when it attempted to bear upon 
Birmingham ; it would not work ; there would be a 
hitch and a block ; you would be a match where you 
were seen, for a whole world where you were not seen. 
I do not undervalue the influence of London ; many 
things its press can do ; some things it cannot do ; it 
is imprudent when it impinges on facts. If, then, a 
battle is coming on, stand on your own ground, not on 
that of others ; take care of yourselves ; be found where 
you are known ; make yourselves and your religion 
known more and more, for in that knowledge is your 
victory. Truth will out; truth is mighty and will 
prevail. We have an instance of it before our eyes ; 
why is it that some persons here have the hardihood 
to be maintaining Maria Monk's calumnies ? because 
those calumnies bear upon a place over the ocean ; why 
did they give up Jeffreys ? because he spoke of a place 
close at hand. You cannot go to Montreal ; you can 
go to Whitwick ; therefore, as regards Whitwick, the 
father of lies eats his words and gives up Jeffreys, to 
get some credit for candour, when he can get nothing 
else. Who can doubt, that, if that same personage 
went over to Canada, he would give up Maria Monk as 
false, and take up Jeffreys as true ? Yes, depend on 
it, when he next ships off to New York, he will take 
the veritable account of the persecuted Jeffreys in his 

388 Duties of Catholics 

pocket, with an interesting engraving of his face as a 
frontispiece. So certain, so necessary is all this, my 
Brothers, that I do not mind giving you this advice in 
public. An enemy might say in his heart, " Here is 
a priest fool enough to show his game ! " I have no 
game ; I have nothing to conceal ; I do not mind who 
knows what I mark out for you, for nothing can frus- 
trate it. I have an intense feeling in me as to the 
power and victoriousness of truth. It has a blessing 
from God upon it. Satan himself can but retard its 
ascendency, he cannot prevent it. 


This, I would say. Brothers of the Oratory, not only 
to you, but, if I had a right to do so, to the Catholics of 
England generally. Let each stand on his own ground; 
let each approve himself in his own neighbourhood ; if 
each portion is defended, the whole is secured. Take 
care of the pence, and the pounds will take care of 
themselves. Let the London press alone ; do not 
appeal to it ; do not expostulate with it ; do not flatter 
it ; care not for popular opinion, cultivate local. And 
then if troubled times come on, and the enemy rages, 
and his many voices go forth from one centre all through 
England, threatening and reviling us, and muttering, 
in his cowardly way, about brickbats, bludgeons, and 
lighted brands, why in that case the Birmingham 
people will say, "Catholics are, doubtless, an infamous 
set, and not to be trusted, for the Times says so, 
and Exeter Hall, and the Prime Minister, and the 
Bishops of the Establishment ; and such good authori- 
ties cannot be wrong ; but somehow an exception must 

Towar^ds the Proves iaiii View. 389 

certainly be made for the Catholics of Birmingham. 
They are not like the rest : they are indeed a shocking 
set at Manchester, Preston, Blackburn, and Liverpool ; 
but, however you account for it, they are respectable 
men here. Priests in general are perfect monsters ; 
but here they are certainly unblemished in their lives, 
and take great pains with their people. Bishops are 
tyrants, and, as Maria Monk says, cut-throats, always 
excepting the Bishop of Birmingham, who affects no 
state or pomp, is simple and unassuming, and always 
in his work." And in like manner, the Manchester 
people will say, '' Oh, certainly. Popery is horrible, and 
must be kept down. Still, let us give the devil his due, 
they are a remarkably excellent body of men here, and 
we will take care no one does them any harm. It is 
very different at Birmingham; there they have a Bishop, 
and that makes all the difference ; he is a Wolsey 
all over ; and the priests, too, in Birmingham are at 
least one in twelve infidels. We do not recollect who 
ascertained this, but it was some most respectable man, 
who was far too conscientious and too charitable to 
slander any one." And thus, my Brothers, the charges 
against Catholics will become a sort of Hunt-the-slipper, 
everywhere and nowhere, and will end in " sound and 
fury, signifying nothing." 

Such is that defensive system, which I think is 
especially the duty of Catholics at this moment. You 
are attacked on many sides ; do not look about for 
friends on the right hand or on the left. Trust neither 
Assyria nor Egypt ; trust no body of men. Fall back 
on yourselves, and trust none but yourselves. I do not 
mean you must not be grateful to individuals who are 

390 Duties of Catholics 

generous to you, but beware of parties ; all parties are 
your enemies ; beware of alliances. You are your own 
best, and sure, and sufficient friends ; no one can 
really hurt you but yourselves ; no one can succour you 
but yourselves. Be content to have your conscience 
clear, and your God on your side. 

Your strength lies in your God and your conscience ; 
therefore it lies not in your number. It lies not in your 
number any more than in intrigue, or combination, or 
worldly wisdom. God saves whether by many or by 
few ; you are to aim at showing forth His light, at 
diffusing *' the sweet odour of His knowledge in every 
place : " numbers would not secure this. On the 
contrary, the more you grew, the more you might be 
thrown back into yourselves, by the increased animosity 
and jealousy of your enemies. You are enabled in 
some measure to mix with them while you are few ; 
you might be thrown back upon yourselves, when you 
became many. The line of demarcation might be more 
strictly observed ; there might be less intercourse and 
less knowledge. It would be a terrible state of things 
to be growing in material power, and growing too in 
a compulsory exclusiveness. Grow you must ; I know 
it ; you cannot help it ; it is your destiny ; it is the 
necessity of the Catholic name, it is the prerogative of 
the Apostolical heritage ; but a material extension 
without a corresponding moral manifestation, it is 
almost awful to anticipate ; awful, if there should be 
the sun of justice within you, with so little power to 
cast the illumination of its rays upon the multitudes 
without. On the other hand, even if you did not grow, 
you might be able to dispense on all sides of you the 

Towards the Protestant View. 39 1 

royal light of Truth, and exert an august moral influ- 
ence upon the world. This is what I want ; I do not 
want growth, except of course for the sake of the souls 
of those who are the increment ; but I want you to 
rouse yourselves to understand where you are,- to know 
yourselves. I would aim primarily at organisation, 
edification, cultivation of mind, growth of the reason. 
It is a moral force, not a material, which will vindicate 
your profession, and will secure your triumph. It | 
is not giants who do most. How small was the Holy 
Land! yet it subdued the world. How poor a spot was 
Attica! yet it has formed the intellect. Moses was 
one, Elias was one, David was one, Paul was one, 
Athanasius was one, Leo was one. Grace ever works 
by few ; it is the keen vision, the intense conviction, 
the indomitable resolve of the few, it is the blood of 
the martyr, it is the prayer of the saint, it is the heroic 
deed, it is the momentary crisis, it is the concentrated 
energy of a word or a look, which is the instrument of 
heaven. Fear not, little flock, for He is mighty who is 
in the midst of you, and will do for you great tilings. 

As troubles and trials circle round you. He will give 
you what you want at present, — "a mouth, and wisdom, 
which all your adversaries shall not be able to resist 
and gainsay." '' There is a time for silence, and a time 
to speak ; " the time for speaking is come. What I 
desiderate in Catholics is the gift of bringing out what 
their religion is; it is one of those " better gifts," of 
which the Apostle bids you be " zealous." You must 
not hide your talent in a napkin, or your light under a 
bushel. I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in 
t<peech, not disputatious, but men who know their 

•392 Duties of Catholics 

religion, who enter into it, who know just where they 
stand, who know what they hold, and what they do 
not, who know their creed so well, that they can give 
an account of it, who know so much of history that they 
can defend it. I want an intelligent, well-instructed 
laity ; I am not denying you are such already : but I 
mean to be severe, and, as some would say, exorbitant 
in my demands. I wish you to enlarge your knowledge, 
to cultivate your reason, to get an insight into the 
relation of truth to truth, to learn to view things as they 
are, to understand how faith and reason stand to each 
other, what are the bases and principles of Catholicism, 
and where lie the main inconsistencies and absurdities 
of the Protestant theory. I have no apprehension you 
will be the worse Catholics for familiarity with these 
subjects, provided you cherish a vivid sense of God 
above, and keep in mind that you have souls to be 
judged and to be saved. In all times the laity have 
been the measure of the Catholic spirit ; they saved the 
Irish Church three centuries ago, and they betrayed the 
Church in England. Our rulers were true, our people 
were cowards. You ought to be able to bring out what 
you feel and what you mean, as well as to feel and mean 
it ; to expose to the comprehension of others the fictions 
and fallacies of your opponents ; and to explain the 
charges brought against the Church, to the satisfaction, 
not, indeed, of bigots, but of men of sense, of whatever 
cast of opinion. And one immediate eifect of your 
being able to do all this will be your gaining that 
proper confidence in self which is so necessary for you. 
You will then not even have the temptation to rely on 
others, to court political parties or particular men ; 

Towards the Protestant View. 393 

tliey will rather have to court you. You will no longer 
be disspirited or irritated (if such is at present the 
case), at finding difficulties in your way, in being called 
names, in not being believed, in being treated with 
injustice. You will fall back upon yourselves ; you 
will be calm, you will be patient. Ignorance is the 
root of all littleness : he who can realise the law of 
moral conflicts, and the incoherence of falsehood, and 
the issue of perplexities, and the end of all things, and 
the Presence of the Judge, becomes, from the very 
necessity of the case, philosophical, long-suffering, 
and magnanimous. 

Cultivation of mind, I know well, is not the same 
thing as religious principle, but it contributes much to 
remove from our path the temptation to many lesser 
forms of moral obliquity. Human nature, left to itself, 
is susceptible of innumerable feelings, more or less 
unbecoming, indecorous, petty, and miserable. It is, in 
no long time, clad and covered by a host of little vices 
and disgraceful infirmities, jealousies, slynesses, cowar- 
dices, frettings, resentments, obstinacies, crookedness 
in viewing thiDgs, vulgar conceit, impertinence, and 
selfishness. Mental cultivation, though it does not of 
itself touch the greater wounds of human nature, does 
a good deal for these lesser defects. In proportion as 
our intellectual horizon recedes, and we mount up in 
the knowledge of men and things, so do we make pro- 
gress in those qualities and that character of mind 
which we denote by the word " gentleman ; " and, if 
this applies in its measure to the case of all men, what- 
ever their religious principles, much more is it true of 

394 Duties of Catkolics 

a Catholic. Your opponents, my Brothers, are too often 
emphatically not gentlemen : but it will be for you, 
in spite of whatever provocations you may meet with, 
to be manly and noble in your bearing towards them ; 
to be straightforward in your dealings with them ; to 
show candour, generosity, honourable feeling, good 
sense, and forbearance, in spite of provocation ; to 
refrain from taking unfair or small advantages over 
them ; to meet them half way, if they showrelentings; 
not to fret at insults, to bear imputations, and to inter- 
pret the actions of all in the best sense you possibly can. 
It is not only more religious, not only more becoming, 
not only happier, to have these excellent dispositions of 
mind, but it is far the most likely way, in the long 
run, to persuade and succeed. You see I am speaking 
to you almost in a worldly way ; I do not speak to you 
of Christian charity, lest I should adopt a tone too high 
for the occasion. 

When men see this, they may attempt other weapons; 
and the more serious you are, they may make the greater 
efforts to pour contempt and ridicule upon you. But 
ridicule will not hurt you, as it hurts other religious 
bodies ; they hate and fear Catholicism — they cannot 
really laugh at it. They may laugh at individuals or 
at details connected with it, but not at Catholicism 
itself. Indeed, I am disposed, in one sense, to allow 
the maxim of the unbeliever, which has before now 
given rise to so much discussion — viz., that ridicule is 
the test of truth. Methodism is ridiculous, so is 
Puritanism ; it is not so with the Catholic Religion ; 
it may be, and is, maligned and defamed ; ridiculed it 
cannot be. It is too real, too earnest, too vigorous, to 

Towards the Protestant View. 395 

liave auglit to fear from the most brilliant efforts of tlie 
satirist or the wit. 

You will not be able to silence yom- opponents ; do 
not be surprised at it ; that will not show that they do 
not secretly respect you. Men move in parties ; what 
shows on the surface is no index of what is felt within. 
When they have made assertions, they cannot with- 
draw them, the shame is so great ; so they go on 
blustering, and wishing themselves out of the awkward 
position in which they stand. Truth is great : a blow 
is struck within them ; they are unnerved by the secret 
consciousness of failure ; they are angry with them- 
selves ; and though they do not like you at all the 
better for it, they will be more cautious another time. 
They speak less confidently henceforth ; or, even if they 
harden themselves, and are as bold as before, others do 
not go with them ; public opinion does not respond to 
them ; and a calumny, which at first was formidable, 
falls on closed hearts and unwilling ears, and takes no 
root in the community at large. 

This is what I think probable ; I will not anticipate 
it can be otherwise ; but still, supposing there is that 
prejudice existing, which, like a deep soil, is able to 
receive any amount of false witness, of scurrility, of 
bufibonery, of sophistry, when directed against the 
Catholic Religion, and that the contempt and hatred at 
present felt against its adherents is kindled, by their 
increasing strength and intelligence, into a fiercer, 
prouder feeling, — what then ? noli cemulariy be not 
jealous, fret not. You are not as others ; you have that 
in you which others have not. You have in you an 
unearthly gift ; the gift, not only of contending boldly, 

39^ Duties of Catholics 

but of suffering well. It will not happen, it must not 
be expected; and yet I confess I have not that confidence 
on the subject which I had a year since, when I said that 
Catholics never could be persecuted again in England, 
It will not be so : yet late events have shown, that, 
though I never have underrated the intense prejudice 
which prevails against us, I did overrate that Anglo- 
Saxon love of justice and fair dealing which I thought 
would be its match. Alas ! that I should have to say 
so, but it is no matter to the Catholic, though much 
matter to the Englishman. It is no matter to us, 
because, as I have said, '' Greater is He that is in you 
than he that is in the world." I do not, cannot think, 
a time of serious trial is at hand : I would not willingly 
use big words, or provoke what is so dreadful, or seem 
to accomplish it by suggesting it. And for myself, I 
confess I have no love of suffering at all ; nor am I at 
a time of life when a man commonly loves to risk it. 
To be quiet and to be undisturbed, to be at peace with 
all, to live in the sight of my brethren, to meditate 
on the future, and to die, — such is the prospect, which 
is rather suitable to such as me. Yet, my Brothers, I 
I have no doubt at all, either about myself or about 
Catholics generally, if trial came. I doubt not we should 
suffer any trial well, not from nature, but from grace ; 
not from what we are in ourselves, but from the wonder- 
working power which is amongst us, and which fills us 
as vessels, according to our various dimensions. 

Not every age is the age of Saints, but no age is not 
the age of Martyrs. Look into the history of the 

Towards the Protestant View. 397 

Church ; you find many instances of men trained up by 
laborious courses of discipline through a long life, or a 
period of many years. Slowly, silently, perseveringly, 
often opposed by their own people, for a while looked on 
with suspicion even by good Catholics, lest they should 
be extravagant or intemperate, or self-willed (for time 
is necessary, as the proof of things), setting about 
heroic works, acting, sufiering with superhuman faith, 
with superhuman patience, with superhuman love, and 
then at length dying, not by violence, but in peace, — 
these are what I have called by pre-eminence Saints, 
being the great specimens of their kind, as contrasted 
with Martyrs. They are the produce, generally speak- 
ing, of the prosperous times of the Church, I mean 
w^hen the Church is in favour of the world, and is in 
possession of riches, learning, power, and name. The 
first in history of these great creations of God, is that 
glorious name, St Athanasius : then they follow so 
thick, that I cannot enumerate them : St Chrysos- 
tom, almost a martyr too, St Basil, St Gregory of 
Nazianzus, St Augustin, St Ambrose, St Jerome ; in 
very distinct spheres of religious duty, but all of them 
heroes. Such, too, was St Benedict, such St Leo, such 
St Gregory the First, St Romuald, St Gregory the 
Seventh, St Bernard, St Francis, St Thomas of 
Aquinum, St Ignatius, St Vincent of Paul. As far as 
human eyes can see, we have none such on earth at 
present ; nor again, is our age like their age. Ours 
is not an age of temporal glory, of dutiful princes, of 
loyal governments, of large possessions, of ample 
leisure, of famous schools, of learned foundations, of 
well-stored libraries, of honoured sanctuaries. Rather, 

398 Duties of Caiholics 

it is like the first age of the Church, when there was 
little of station, of nobility, of learning, of wealth, 
in the holy heritage ; when Christians were chiefly of 
the lower orders ; when we were poor and ignorant, 
when we were despised and hated by the great and 
philosophical, as a low rabble, or a stupid and obsti- 
nate association, or a foul and unprincipled conspiracy. 
It is like that first age, in which no Saint is recorded 
in history who fills the mind as a great idea, as St 
Thomas Aquinas or St Ignatius fills it, and when the 
ablest of so-called Christian writers belonged to here- 
tical schools. We certainly have little to show for 
ourselves ; and the words of the Psalm are fulfilled in 
us, — " They have set fire to Thy sanctuary ; they have 
defiled the dwelling-place of Thy name on the earth. 
Our signs we have not seen ; there is no Prophet, and 
He will know us no more. How long shall the enemy 
reproach ? is the adversary to provoke Thy name for 
ever?" So was it in the first age too: they were 
scorned and hated as we are ; they were without the efi'ul- 
gence and the celebrity of later times. Yet had they 
nothing at all to show? were they without their glory? 
it was emphatically the age of Martyrs. The most 
horrible tortures which imagination can fancy, the 
most appalling kinds of death, were the lot, the accepted 
portion, the boast and joy, of those abject multitudes. 
Not a few merely, but by thousands, and of every con- 
dition of life, men, women, boys, girls, children, slaves, 
domestics, they willingly offered their life's blood, their 
limbs, their senses, their nerves, to the persecutor, rather 
than soil their faith and their profession with the 
slightest act which implied the denial of their Lord. 

Towards the Protestant View. 399 

Such was the prowess of the Mother of Saints in her 
valley of humiliation, when she seemed to have hardly 
any great thought to show, or spirit, or intellect, or 
cultivation of mind. And who were these her children 
who made this sacrifice of blood so freely ? what had 
been their previous lives ? how had they been trained ? 
were they special men of fasting, of prayer, and of self- 
control ? No, I repeat it, no ; they were for the most 
part common men ; it was not they who did the deed, 
it was not what was matured in them, it was that un- 
fathomable ocean of faith and sanctity which flowed 
into, and through, and out of them, unto those tre- 
mendous manifestations of divine power. It was the 
narrow-minded slave, the untaught boy, the gentle 
maid, as well as the Bishop or the Evangelist, who 
took on them their cross, and smiled as they entered 
on their bloody way. It was the soldier of the ranks, 
it was the jailer or hangman suddenly converted, it was 
the spectator of a previous martyrdom, nay, it was even 
the unbaptized heathen, who with a joyful song rose up 
and washed their robes, and made them white in the 
blood of the Lamb. Nay, strange to say, in the case 
of such of them as had been Christians before the 
persecution, good and religious as they were, yet still 
we read of disorder and extravagance, and other lesser 
offences, even while in prison and in expectation of 
their doom, clearly showing that all of them had not 
that subdued and disciplined spirit which has dis- 
tinguished those great lights of after times of whom I 
was just now speaking. Or take particular instances 
of Martyrdom, or what resembles it, from the first age 
to the present time ; — what was St Justin ? a philo- 

400 Duties of Catholics 

sopher, with great secular accomplishments, hut 
assuredly not better grounded in Christian truth than 
the hulk of our own laity. What was our own St Alhan, 
again, but a Eoman officer, who did a generous action, 
sheltered a priest, was converted by him, made confession 
of his faith, and went out to die ? And then aofain, 
St Hermenegild, several centuries later ; a brave youth, 
who, by his glorious death, not only gained the crown 
of martyrdom, but wiped out some rash acts which 
history imputes to him in the course of the trial which 
led to it. Who was our own St Thomas ? one who with 
a true heart had served his Lord and led an ascetic life 
even when he lived in the world, but who, before his 
elevation to the Primacy, had indulged in a pomp and 
magnificence unsuitable to the condition, not only of a 
priest, which he then was not, but of the inferior orders 
of the sacred ministry. And so, again in recent times, 
contemplate the heroic deaths of the martyr-priests of 
France during the excess of the first bloody Revolu- 
tion ; yet they, although men of clear conscience and 
good life before, seem to have had no special notes of 
sanctity on their characters and histories. And so 
again, the most recent martyr, as he may be called, of 
the French Church, the late Archbishop of Paris ; he, 
indeed, had in every way adorned and sustained his 
high dignity, by holiness of conversation and a repu- 
tation beyond reproach ; and the last glorious act of his 
life was but in keeping with all which had gone before 
it. True ; but it is to my point to observe that this 
bright example of self-devotion and paternal tenderness 
for his flock, is commonly said to have shrunk in anti- 
cipation, by reason of the very gentleness and sweetness 

Towards tJie Protestant View. 40 1 

of liis natural disposition, from such rough contests as 
that to which he was ultimately called ; yet, when his 
Lord's word came, he calmly went forth into the ranks 
of his infuriated people, stood between the mortal com- 
batants, with the hope of separating them, and received 
the wound which suddenly took him off to his eternal 
reward. This, then, may be said, as a general rule, of 
the individual members of the " white-robed army ; " 
they have been, for the most part, men of noble zeal and 
chivalrous prowess, who startled the world, startled their 
friends, startled themselves by what the grace that is 
in the Church enabled them to do. They shot up at 
once to their high stature, and " being perfected in 
a short space," as the Wise man says, " they fulfilled a 
long time." Thus they shone forth, and "ran to and 
fro like sparks among the reeds," like those keen and 
sudden fires which dart forth from some electric mass, 
on due provocation, and intimate to us the power and 
intensity of the awful elements which lie concealed 
within it. 

The Church of God cannot change; what she was 
that she is. What our forefathers were, such are we ; 
we look like other men, but we have that in us, which 
none others have, — the latent element of an indomi- 
table fortitude. This may not be the age of saints, but 
all times are the age of martyrs. The arrow is on the 
string, and the arm is drawn back, and, " if the Lord 
give the word," great will be the multitude of His 
champions. my Brothers, it is difficult for you 
and me to realise this ; it is difficult for us to believe 
that we have it in us, being what we are, — but we have. 
And it is difficult for us to believe that this can be a 


402 ' Duties of Catholics 

time for testing it, nor do I say it is ; I think it cannot 
be : I only say, that if it were to be a time for calling 
out the martyr's spirit, you and I, through God's grace, 
have it in us. I only mean, that it is profitable, in 
such lesser trials as may easily come upon us, to be 
reminded that we may humbly trust we have that in 
us, which can sustain the greatest. And it would be 
profitable also for our opponents, high and low, if they 
too would lay this to heart. It would be well for them 
to recollect, that there is a certain principle, which we 
call zeal, and they call fanaticism. Let them beware of 
awaking what they would, in scofiing, call the fanatical 
spirit of the Catholic. For years and years the Catho- 
lics of England have borne personal slander, and insult, 
and injustice. In their own persons, and not merely 
in their religious profession, have they been treated as 
the adherents of no other creed have been treated, with 
scorn, hatred, and cruelty. Men have shrunk from 
coming near them, and have almost discarded from 
their society those who did; as if inflicting on them 
the greater excommunication, as upon those who were 
the extremest reprobates and blasphemers on the face 
of the earth. They have borne, and they bear, an ill- 
usage, which, in its mildest and most amiable form, 
has never risen higher than pity and condescension. 
They have borne, and they bear, to be " the heathen's 
jest," waiting till the morning breaks, and a happier 
day begins. 

So has it been with us up to this hour ; but let our 
enemies remember that, while they have their point of 
honour, we have ours. They have stripped us of power, 
wealth, name, and station ; they have left us nothing 

Towards the Protestant View. 403 

but our Apostolical inheritance. And now they wish to 
take from us the " little ewe-lamb," which is our only 
treasure. There was a saying of old, " Let alone 
Camarina, for 'tis best let alone." Let them, as sensible 
men, — I do not say, accept Catholicism as true, but 
admit it into their imagination as a fact. A story goes 
about of a sagacious statesman and monarch of our own 
time, who, when urged by some of his advisers to come 
to an open rupture with the Holy See, made answer, 
" If you can put your finger upon the page of history, 
and point out any one instance, in which any civil power 
quarrelled with Kome with honour and success in the 
event, I will accede to your wishes." And it has 
lately been given to the world, how that sagacious poli- 
tician, apostate priest as he was. Prince Talleyrand, 
noted it as one of Napoleon's three great political mis- 
takes, that he quarrelled with the Pope. There is only 
one way of success over us, possible even in idea, — a 
wholesale massacre. Let them exterminate us, as they 
have done before, kill the priests, decimate the laity ; 
and they have for a while defeated the Pope. They 
have no other way ; they may gain a material victory, 
never a moral one. 

These are thoughts to comfort and sustain us, what- 
ever trial lies before us. I might pursue them farther, 
but it is enough to have suggested them. Nothing more 
remains for me to do, but, in commending myself to 
your good thoughts, my Brothers, to thank those also, 
who, though not of our communion, have honoured me 
with their attendance. If I might take the liberty of 

404 Duties of Catholics 

addressing them directly, I would anxiously entreat 
them to think over what I have said, even though they 
have not been altogether pleased at my manner of 
saying it. Minds, and judgments, and tastes, are so 
very different, that I cannot hope to have approved 
myself to all, even though they be well disposed 
towards me, nay, to any one at all so fully, but that 
he may have thought that some things might have been 
said better, and some things were better omitted alto- 
gether. Yet I entreat them to believe that I have 
uttered nothing at random, but have had reasons, 
both for what I said and my manner of saying it. 
It is easy to fancy a best way of doing things, but 
very difficult to find it : and often what is called the 
best way is, in the very nature of things, not 
positively good, but only better than other ways. 
And really, in the present state of things, it is diffi- 
cult to say a^ivthing in behalf of Catholicism, if 
it is to make any impression, without incurring grave 
criticism of one kind or another ; and quite impos- 
sible so to say it, as not grievously to offend those 
whom one is opposing. But, after all, in spite of all 
imperfections, which are incident to the doings of every 
mortal man, and in spite of the differences of judg- 
ments, which will make those imperfections greater 
than they are, I do trust there is a substance of truth 
in what I have said, which will last, and produce its 
effect somewhere or other. Good is never done except 
at the expense of those who do it : truth is never en- 
forced except at the sacrifice of its propounders. At 
least, they expose their inherent imperfections, if they 
incur no other penalty ; for nothing would be done at 

Towards the Protestant View. 405 

all, if a man waited till he could do it so well, that no 
one could find fault with it. 

Under these circumstances, then, what can I desire 
and pray for but this ? — that what I^ave said well 
may he blest to those who have heard it, and that what 
I might have said better, may be blest to me by in- 
creasing my dissatisfaction with myself; that I may 
cheerfully resign myself to such trouble or anxiety as 
necessarily befalls any one who has spoken boldly on 
an unpopular subject in a difficult time, with the con- 
fidence that no trouble or anxiety but will bring some 
real good with it in the event, to those who have acted 
in sincerity, and by no unworthy methods, and with 
no selfish aim. 


Note I. (p. 18.) 

The following is the passage as it stands in Mr Blanco Wliite's 
work, a portion of which is extracted in Lecture I. : — 

The Jesuits, till the abolition of that order, had an almost unrivalled 
influence over the better classes of Spaniards. They had nearly monopo- 
lised the instruction of the Spanish youth, at which they toiled without 
pecuniary reward ; and were equally zealous in promoting devotional feel- 
ings both among their pupils and the people at large. It is well known 
that the most accurate division of labour was observed in the allotment of 
their various employments. Their candidates, who, by a refinement of 
ecclesiastical policy, after an unusually long probation, were bound by 
vows which, depriving them of liberty, yet left a discretionary power of 
ejection in the Order, were incessantly watched by the penetrating eye of 
the Master of Novices ; a minute description of their character and pecu- 
liar turn was forwarded to the superiors, and at the end of the noviciate 
they were employed to the advantage of the community, without ever 
thwarting the natural bent of the individual, or diverting his natural 
powers by a multiplicity of employments. Wherever, as in France and 
Italy, literature was in high estimation, the Jesuits spared no trouble to 
raise among themselves men of eminence in that department. In Spain 
their chief aim was to provide their houses with popular preachers, and 
zealous, yet prudent and gentle, confessors. Pascal and the Jansenist 
party, of which he was the organ, accused them of systematic laxity in 
their moral doctrines ; but the charge, I believe, though plausible in 
theory, was perfectly groundless in practice. If, indeed, ascetic virtue 
could ever be divested of its connatural evil tendency — if a system of moral 
perfection, that has for its basis, however disavowed and disguised, the 
Manichaean doctrine of the two principles, could be applied with any par- 
tial advantage as a rule of conduct, it was so in the hands of the Jesuits. 
The strict, unbending maxims of the Jansenists, by urging persons of all 
characters and tempers on to an imaginary goal of perfection, bring quickly 
their whole system to the decision of experience. They are like those 
enthusiasts who, venturing upon the practice of some Gospel sayings in 
the literal sense, have made the absurdity of that interpretation as clear 
as noonday light. A greater knowledge of mankind made the Jesuits more 
cautious in the culture of devotional feelings. They well knew that but 

Notes. 407 

few can prudently engage in open hostility with what, in ascetic language, 
is called the world. They now and then trained up a sturdy champion, 
who, like their founder Loyola, might provoke the enemy to single combat 
with honour to his leaders ; but the crowd of mystic combatants were 
made to stand upon a kind of jealous truce, which, in spite of all care, 
often produced some jovial meetings of the advanced parties on both sides. 
The good fathers came forward, rebuked their soldiers back into the camp, 
and filled up the place of deserters by their indefatigable industry in 
engaging recruits. 

"The influence of the Jesuits on Spanish morals, from everything I 
have learned, was undoubtedly favourable. Their kindness attracted the 
youth from their schools to their company ; and though it must be ac- 
knowledged that many arts were practised to decoy the cleverest and the 
wealthiest into the order, they also greatly contributed to the preservation 
of virtue in that slippery age, both by the ties of afifection and the gentle 
check of example. Their churches were crowded every Sunday with regu- 
lar attendants, who came to confess and receive the sacrament. The prac- 
tice of choosing a certain priest, not only to be the occasional confessor, 
but director of the conscience, was greatly encouraged by the Jesuits. The 
ultimate effects of this surrender of the judgment are indeed dangerous 
and degrading ; but in a country where the darkest superstition is con- 
stantly impelling the mind into the opposite extremes of religious melan- 
choly and profligacy, weak persons are sometimes preserved from either by 
the friendly assistance of a prudent director, and the Jesuits were generally 
well qualified for that office. Their conduct was correct, and their man- 
ners refined. They kept up a dignified intercourse with the middling and 
higher classes, and were always ready to help and instruct the poor, with- 
out descending to their leveL Since the expulsion of the Jesuits, the 
better classes for the most part avoid the company of monks and friars, 
except in an official capacity ; while the lower ranks, from which these 
professional saints are generally taken, and where they reappear raised, 
indeed, into comparative importance, but grown bolder in grossness and 
vice, suffer more from their influence than they would by being left with- 
out any religious ministers." 

He adds this note : — 

"The profligacy now prevalent among the friars, contrasted with the 
conduct of the Jesuits, as described by the most credible living witnesses, is 
excessively striking. "Whatever we may think of the political delinquencies 
of their leaders, their bitterest enemies have never ventured to charge the 
order of Jesuits with moral irregularities. The internal policy of that body 
precluded the possibility of gross misconduct. No Jesuit could step out 
of doors without calling on the superior for leave and a companion, in the 
choice of whom great care was taken to vary the couples. Never were 
they allowed to pass a single night out of the convent, except when attend- 
ing a dying person ; and even then they were under the strictest injunc- 
tions to return at whatever hour the soul departed. " — Doblado's Letters in 
the New Monthly Magazine, 1821, vol. ii. pp. 157, 158. 

An objection has been taken to the validity of the argument 

4o8 Notes. 

in the latter part of the same Lecture, in which it is attempted 
to expose the polemic which Protestants commonly use against 
the Catholic Church, by comparing it to a supposed tirade of 
some Kussian against England; and that, upon the ground 
that the maxims of the English Constitution {e.g. the king can 
do no wrong) are confessedly fictions, whereas the Church's 
infallibility is a dogma expressing a truth. In this particular 
respect, certainly, the cases are not parallel ; but they need not 
be parallel for the argument. The point urged against the Pro- 
testant is this — That, whereas every science, polity, institution, 
religion, uses the words and phrases which it employs in a sense 
of its oivn, or a technical sense, Englishmen, allowing and ex- 
emplifying this very principle in the case of their own Consti- 
tution, will not allow it to the divines of the Catholic Church. 
U.ff., the " Omnipotence of Parliament" is a phrase of English 
law, in which the word omnipotence is taken otherwise than 
when it is ascribed to Almighty God ; and so, too, when used 
by Catholic divines of the Blessed Virgin. If any one exclaims 
against its adoption, in the latter case, by Catholics, let him 
also protest against its adoption, in the former case, by English 
lawyers ; if he rejects explanations, distinctions, limitations, 
in the latter case, and calls them lame, subtle, evasive, &c., 
let him do so in the former case also ; whereas Protestants 
denounce such explanations as oflfered by Catholics, and take a 
pride in them as laid down by English lawyers. In like man- 
ner, " the king can do no wrong " has a sense in constitutional 
law, though not the sense which the words would suggest to a 
foreigner who heard them for the first time ; and " the Pope is 
infallible " has its own sense in theology, but not that which 
the words suggest to a Protestant, who takes the words in 
their ordinary meaning. And, as it is the way with Protes- 
tants to maintain that the Pope's infallibility is intended by us 
as a guarantee of his private and personal exemption from 
theological error, nay, even from moral fault of every kind : so 
a foreigner, who knew nothing of England, were he equally 
impatient, prejudiced, and indocile, might at first hearing con- 
found the maxim, " the king can do no wrong," with the dogma 
of some Oriental despotism or theocracy. 

For a fuller explanation of the argument, vid. Lecture VIII. 

Notes. 409 

I may add that I have been informed since I published 
Lecture III., that Mr Hallam, in a later edition than my own 
of his Middle Ages, has explained his severe remarks upon St 
Eligius. Nothing less could be expected from a person of his 
great reputation. 

Note IL 

The question of Ecclesiastical Miracles is treated in Lecture 
VIL solely with reference to their general verisimilitude, or 
the antecedent probability or improbability of their occurrence ; 
that is, to the pre-judgment, favourable or otherwise, which 
spontaneously arises in our minds, upon hearing reports or 
reading statements of particular miraculous occurrences. This 
antecedent probability depends on two conditions — viz., first 
of all, whether there is an existing cause adequate to the pro- 
duction of such phenomena ; and next, since there certainly is 
such — viz., the Creator — whether in the particular case, the 
alleged miracle sufficiently resembles His known works in cha- 
racter and object to admit of being ascribed to Him. Two 
questions remain to be determined, which do not come into 
discussion in the Lecture ; first, whether the fact under consi- 
deration is really miraculous — that is, such as not to be refer- 
able to the operation of ordinary processes of nature or of 
art ; and, secondly, whether it comes to us with such evidence, 
either from sight or from testimony, as warrants us in accept- 
ing it as having really taken place. 

Thus the liquefaction of St Januarius' Blood at Naples, in 
order to its reception as miraculous — (1) must be possible; (2) 
must be parallel to God's known works in nature or in revela- 
tion, or suitable to Him ; (3) must be clearly beyond the opera- 
tion of chemical or other scientific means, or jugglery of man 
or evil spirit ; and (4) must be wrought publicly. 

The antecedent probability of such miracles is, I repeat, all 
that concerned me in Lecture VIL ; but I went on, at the end 
of it, to avow my own personal belief in some of them as facts, 
lest I should be suspected of making a sham defence of what I 

4IO Notes. 

did not in my heart myself accept. Here I subjoin, from the 
columns of the Morning Chronicle, a correspondence on this sub- 
ject, which took place in 1851, between the late Dr Hinds and 
myself, soon after the delivery of tlie Lecture : — 

No. 1. 


Thurles, Ireland, October 2. 

"My dear Lord, — A slip of a Norwich paper has been sent me, which 
purports to give a speech of the ' Bishop of the diocese,' delivered in St 
Andrew's Hall, at a meeting of the British and Foreign Bible Society. 
Though the name of the diocese is not stated, I cannot be mistaken, under 
these circumstances, in ascribing the speech to your lordship. Yet I know 
not how to credit that certain words contained in it, which evidently refer 
to me, should have been uttered by one who is so liberal, so fair, and tem- 
perate in his general judgments as your lordship. 

" The words are these : — ' My friends, I have heard — and I am sure all 
of you who have heard of it will share with me in the disgust as well as the 
surprise with which I have heard of it — that there is a publication circu- 
lated through this land, the stronghold of Bible Christianity— a publication 
issuing from that Church against which we are protesting, and which is, on 
the other hand, the stronghold of human authority— a publication issuing 
from one of the most learned of its members, a man who, by his zeal as a 
convert, and by his position and acceptance with that Church, speaks with 
the authority of the Church itself, and represents its doctrines and feel- 
ings—a publication, as I have heard with dismay, read, admired, circu- 
lated, which maintains that the legendary stories of those puerile miracles, 
which I believe until now few Protestants thought that the Eoman Catho- 
lics themselves believed; that these legends have a claim to belief equalli/ 
with that Word of God which relates the miracles of our God, as recorded 
in the Gospel, and that the authority of the one is as the authority/ of the 
other, the credibility of the one based on a foundation no less sure than the 
credibility of the other.' 

"The statements here animadverted on are as contrary to the teaching 
of the Catholic Church as they can be repugnant to your own views of 
Christian truth. 

"Should I be right in supposing that you did not really impute them 
to me, I beg to apologise to you for putting you to the trouble of 
disavowing the newspaper account ; but if, contrary to my expectation, 
you acknowledge them to be yours, I take the liberty of begging your 
lordship to refer me to the place in any work of mine in which they are 

"You will not, I am sure, be surprised if, at a moment like the present, 
when so many misrepresentations are made of Catholicism and its defen- 
ders, I should propose, as I do, to give the same publicity to any answer 
you shall favour me with, as has been given to the speech, the report of 
which has occasioned my question. 

"I am, my dear Lord, yours very faithfully, 

"JohnH. Newman. 

Notes. 411 

No. 2. 


" London, October 8. 

*'Mt dear Newman, — As I have already replied to an inquiry, the same 
as that which you make, in a letter to the Rev. W. Cobb, Roman Catholic 
priest in Norwich, I enclose a copy of that letter. 

" If I have misrepresented you, you will, I hope, believe me when I say 
that it has been from misunderstanding you. Permit me to add, that what 
has misled me is likely, you may be sure, to mislead others. I shall re- 
joice, therefore, at any public statement from you which may disabuse 
your readers of false impressions. When you are found to be maintaining 
(as you appear to do) that the miracles of the apostolic age were only the 
beginning of a like miraculous development, to be manifested and accre- 
dited through succeeding times, and professing your belief in the facts of 
this further miraculous development, in terms as solemn as those of a 
creed, it is very difficult to avoid the impression that the scriptural narra- 
tives are to be regarded as the beginning only of a series of the like his- 
tories, partaking of their credibility and authority, although the one may 
be called Scripture and the other legend. 

"Time and circumstances have so long divided us, that I ought to 
apologise for the familiar mode in which I have addressed you ; but your 
handwriting has brought back on my mind other days, and some dear 
friends, who were then friends and associates of both of us ; and I would 
gtill desire you to believe me, very truly yours, 

S. Norwich. 

No 3 (enclosed in No. .2). 


"Athen^dm, London, Octobers. 

" Reverend Sib, — My absence from home when your letter was de- 
livered, and my not having Dr Newman's publications by me when I 
received it here, have caused a delay in my making reply to your inquiry. 
The work to which I alluded, when I stated, in St Andrew's Hall, that he 
asserted for certain legendary accounts of miracles the same credibility 
which is claimed for the Scriptural narratives and statements of miracles, 
is his 'Lectures on Catholicism in England,' more particularly Lecture 
VII., p. 298. In this passage, after discriminating between some legends 
and others, as we discriminate between genuine Scripture and tiiat which 
is either spurious or doubtful, he professes his faith in those the authority 
of which he pronounces to be unquestionable in terms such as these : — 

" 'I think it impossible to withstand the evidence which is brought for 
the liquefaction of the blood of St Januarius at Naples, and for the motion 
of the eyes of the pictures of the Madonna in the Roman States. I firmly 
believe that saints, in their lifetime, have before now raised the dead to 
life, crossed the sea without vessels, multiplied grain and bread, cured in- 
curable diseases, and stopped the operation of the laws of the universe in 
a multitude of ways. Many men, when they hear an educated man bo 

412 Notes. 

speak, will at once impute the avowal to insanity, or to an idiosyncrasy, or 
to imbecility of mind, or to decrepitude of powers, or to fanaticism, or to 
hypocrisy. They have a right to say so if they will ; and we have a right 
to ask them why they do not say it of those who how down before the mystery 
of mysteries, the Divine Incarnation.' 

"He pursues the same view in his volume of 'Discourses for Mixed 
Congregations,' setting aside, as a thing of nought, the essential difference 
between the claim which Scripture has on our belief in miracles related 
there, and that of human legends for the like statements, and recognising 
no difference but that of the marvellousness of the things related in the 
one or the other. 

'"They (speaking of Protestants) have not in them the principle of 
faith, and, I repeat it, it is nothing to the purpose to urge that at least 
they firmly believe Scripture to be the Word of God. In truth, it is much 
to be feared that their acceptance of Scripture itself is nothing better than a 
prejudice or inveterate feeling impressed on them when they were children. 
A proof of this is this— that while they profess to be so shocked at Catholic 
miracles, and are not slow to call them "lying wonders," they have no 
difficulty at all about Scripture narratives, which are quite as difficult to the 
reason as any miracles recoi'ded in the history of the saints. I have heard, 
on the contrary, of Catholics who have been startled at first reading in 
Scripture the narrative of the ark in the deluge, of the Tower of Babel, 
of Balaam and Balak, of the Israelites' flight from Egypt and entrance 
into the promised land, and of Esau's and of Saul's rejection, which the 
bulk of Protestants receive without any effort of mind.' — page 217. 

" In his speech at the Birmingham meeting, he propounded the same 
view, in reference to God's revelation through nature, as he has, in the 
preceding passages, in reference to God's written "Word. He said on that 
occasion, if his words are rightly reported — 'We have no higher proof of 
the doctrines of natural religion — such as the being of a God, a rule of 
right and wrong, and the like— than we have of the Komish system,' in- 
cluding, I must presume, all those legendary statements which he so 
strongly represents as part of that system. 

' ' It would be very satisfactory to me to have any authoritative disclaimer 
of these publications -as exponents of your Church's views ; for they alarm 
me, from their tendency to bring into discredit that faith which, notwith- 
standing the serious differences that unhappily divide us, we stiU, God be 
thanked, hold in common, and cherish in common. 

"I ought to add, that in giving those last words which you have quoted 
from the newspapers, the reporters must have heard me imperfectly, or 
have misapprehended me. I did not say that Dr Newman asserted, for the 
miracles related in the Romish legends, a credibility based upon the foun- 
dation of divine revelation, no less than those of Scripture. What I said 
was, that he claimed for the miracles related in the legends, the authorship 
of which was human, the same amount of credibility as for the miracles and 
divine revelations recorded in Scripture, the authorship of which was 
divine ; thus leading his readers either to raise the authority of the 
legends to that of Scripture, or to bring down the authority of Scripture to 
that of the legends, the latter of which appeared to me to be the more 
likely result. I am, rev. sir, your faithful servant, 


Notes. 413 

No. 4. 


" Oratory, Birmingham, October 11. 
" My dear Lord, — I thank you for tlie kind tone of your letter, which 
it was very pleasant to me to find so like that of former times, and for 
the copy you inclose of your answer to Mr Cobb. 

"Your lordship's words, as reported in the Norwich paper, were to the 
effect that I believed the ecclesiastical miracles to have 'a claim to belief 
equally with that Word of God which relates the miracles of our God as 
recorded in the gospels ; ' that I made ' the authority of the one as the 
authority of the other,' and 'the credibility of the one as based on a foun- 
dation no less sure than the credibility of the other.' 

" You explain this in a letter to Mr Cobb thus :— ' I did not say that Dr 
Newman asserted, for the miracles related in tlie Romish legends, a credi- 
bility based upon the foundation of divine revelation, no less than those of 
Scripture. "What I said was, that he claimed for the miracles related in 
the legends, the authorship of which was human, the same amount of 
credibility as for the miracles and divine revelations recorded in Scripture, 
the authorship of which was divine.' 

" Will you allow me to ask you the meaning of your word ' credibility V 
for it seems to me a fallacy is involved in it. Archbishop Whately says 
that controversies are often verbal. I cannot help being quite sure that 
your lordship's difficulty is of this nature. 

" When you speak of a miracle being credible, you must mean one of two 
things — either that it is ' antecedently probable,' or verlsimile; or that it is 
'furnished with sufficient evidence,' or proveable. In which of these 
senses do you use the word ? If you describe me as saying that the eccle- 
siastical miracles come to us on the same evidence as those of Scripture, 
you attribute to me what I have never dreamed of asserting ; if you under- 
stand me to say that the ecclesiastical miracles are on the same level of 
antecedent probability with those of Scripture, you do justice to my 
meaning, but I do not conceive it is of a nature to raise 'disgust.' 

" I am not inventing a distinction for the occasion ; it is found in Arch- 
bishop Whiitely's works ; and I have pursued it at great length in my 
' University Sermons,' and in my 'Essay on Miracles,' iDublished in 184.3, 
which has never been answered as far as I know, and a copy of which I 
shall beg to present to your lordship. 

" 1. First, let us suppose you to mean by ' credible ' antecedently probable, 
or likely {verisimile), and you will then accuse me of saying that the eccle- 
siastical miracles are as likely as those of Scripture. What is there ex- 
treme or disgusting in such a statement, whether you agree with it or not? 
I certainly do think that the ecclesiastical miracles are as credible (in this 
sense) as the Scripture miracles ; nay, more so, because they come after 
Scripture, and Scripture breaks (as it were) the ice. The miracles of Scrip- 
ture begin a new law ; they innovate on an established order. There is 
less to surprise in a second miracle than in a first. I do not see how it can be 
denied that ecclesiastical miracles, as coming after Scripture miracles, have 
not to bear the brunt of that antecedent improbability which attaches, as 
Hume objects, to the idea of a violation of nature. Ecclesiastical miracles 
are probable, because Scripture mii-acles are true. This is all I have said 

414 Notes. 

or implied in the two passages you have quotel from me, as is evident 
from both text and context, 

" As to the former passage of the two, I there say, that if Protestants are 
surprised at my having no diflculty in believing ecclesiastical miracles, I 
have a right to ask them why they have no difficulty in believing the Incar- 
nation. Protestants find a difficulty in even listening to evidence adduced 
for ecclesiastical miracles. I have none. Why ? Because the admitted 
fact of the Scripture miracles has taken away whatever prima facie unlikeli- 
hood attaches to them as a violation of the laws of nature. My whole 
Lecture is on the one idea of 'Assumed Principles,' or antecedent judg- 
ments or theories ; it has nothing to do with proof or evidence. And so of 
the second passage. I have but said that Protestants ' have no difficulty at 
all about Scripture miracles, which are quite as diflBcult to the reason as any 
miracle recorded in the history of the saints.' Now, 1 really cannot con- 
ceive a thoughtful person denying that the history of the ark at the Deluge 
is as difficult to reason as a saint floating on his cloak. As to the third 
passage you quote as mine, about 'revelation through nature,' and 
'legendary statements,' I know nothing about it. I cannot even guess of 
what words of mine it is the distortion. Tell me the when and where, and 
I will try to make out what I really said. If it professes to come from my 
recent lectures, all I can say is that what I spoke I read from a printed 
copy, and what I printed I published, and what is not in the printed volume 
I did not say. 

" 2. Bat now for the second sense of the word ' credible.' Do you under 
stand me to say that the ecclesiastical miracles come to us on as good 
proof or grounds as those of Scripture ? If so, I answer distinctly, I have 
said no such thing anywhere. The Scripture miracles are credible, i.e., 
proveable, on a ground peculiar to themselves, on the authority of God's 
Word. Observe my expressions : I think it ^impossible to withstand the 
evidence which is brought for the liquefaction of the blood of St Januarius.' 
Should I thus speak of the resurrection of Lazarus? should I say, 'I 
think it impossible to withstand the evidence for his resurrection ? ' I can- 
not tell how Protestants would speak, but a Catholic would say, ' I believe 
it with a certainty beyond all other certainty, for God has spoken.' More- 
over, I believe with a like certainty every one of the Scripture miracles, 
not only that apostles and prophets ' in their lifetime have before now raised 
the dead to life,' &c., but that Elias did this, and St Peter did that, and 
just as related, and so all through the whole catalogue of their miracles. 
On the other hand, ecclesiastical miracles may be believed, one more than 
another, and more or less by different persons. This I have expressed in 
words which occur in the passage from which you quote, for, after saying 
of one, ' I think it impossible to withstand the evidence for ' it, I say of an- 
other extraordinary fact no more than, 'I see no reason to doubt ' it ; and 
of a third, still less, ' / do not see why it may not ' be ; whereas, whatever 
God has said is to be believed absolutely and by all. This applies to the 
account of the ark ; I believe it, though more difficult to the reason, with a 
firmness quite dif[erent from that with which I beliove the account of a 
saint's crossing the sea on his cloak, though less difficult to the reason ; for 
the one comes to me on the Word of God, the other on the word of man. 

" The whole of what I have said in my recent Lecture comes to this ; 
that Protestants are most inconsistent and one-sided, in refusing to go into 

Notes. 4 1 5 

iht evidence for ecclesiastical miracles, which, on the first blush of the 
matter, are not stranger than those miracles of Scripture which they 
happily profess to admit. How is this the same as saying that when the 
grounds for believing those ecclesiastical miracles are entered on, God's 
Word through His Church, on which the Catholic rests the miracles of the 
Law and the Gospel, is not a firmer evidence than man's word, on which rest 
the miracles of ecclesiastical history ? 

" So very clear is this distinction between verisimilitude and evidence, 
and so very clearly (as I consider) is my own line of argument founded on 
it, that I should really for my own satisfaction like your lordship's assur- 
ance that you had carefully read, not merely dipped into, my Lecture, 
before you delivered your speech. Certain it is, that most people, though 
they are not the fit parallels of a person of your dispassionate and candid 
mind, do judge of my meaning by bits of sentences, mine or not mine, 
inserted in letters in the newspapers. 

" Under these circumstances, I entertain the most lively confidence that 
your lordship will find yourself able to reconsider the word ' disgust,' as 
unsuitable to be applied to statements which, if you do not approve, at 
least you cannot very readily refute. I am, my dear lord, 

"With every kind feeling personally to your lordship, 
" Very truly yours, 

"John H. Newman." 

No. 5. 


" Norwich, October 17. 

" My dear Newman, — One of the secretaries of the Bible Society has 
asked my permission to reprint what I said as Chairman of the meeting at 
Norwich. I will most readily avail myself of this reprint to withdraw the 
expression 'disgust,' as it appears to be offensive. I will also, as is due to 
you, have a note appended, referring to the passages in your writings, to 
which my observations were more particularly directed, and stating that 
you disavow the construction which I put on them. 

"At the same time I am unable still to come to any other conclusion 
than that of the dangerous tendency which I have represented them to 
have. If you maintain, as you distinctly do, not only the antecedent pro- 
bability {credibility in that sense) of the legendary miracles, but your firm 
belief in certain of them, specifically stated, as facts proved, and if you 
further contend that these miracles are only a continuation of those 
recorded in Scripture, the impression appears to me inevitable, that the 
legendary channel through which God must have appointed them to be 
attested and preserved has a purpose and authority the same with Scrip- 
ture. What I should fear is, not indeed that the generality of your readers 
will exalt legends into Scripture ; but that, seeing grounds for discrediting 
the legends, they will look on all narratives of miracles, scriptural and 
legendary, as alike doubtful, and more than doubtful. In short, your view, 
as I see it, tends to a scepticism and infidelity of which I fully acquit you, 

" The report of your speech at Birmingham I read in the Times, but 
the quotation which I sent to Mr Cobb, I took from a letter in the Spectator 



of Sept, 27, the writer's quotation, according with my impression of your 
speech as reported, containing words to that effect. 

" The kind present which you propose for me will, I assure you, he valued, 
if for no more, as a token that we are still friends, notwithstanding a wide 
severance in matters of faith, and that we may still believe all things and 
hope all things for one another. 

"My dear Newman, yours truly, 

" S. NOfiWICH." 

No. 6. 


"Oratoky, Birmingham, Ociofter 19. 

"MtdearLord, — I thank your lordship with all my heart foryourvery 
kind and friendly letter just received, and for your most frank and ready 
compliance with the request wliich I felt it my duty to make to you. 

" It is a great satisfaction to me to have been able to remove a misappre- 
hension of my meaning from your mind. There still remains, I confess, 
what is no misapprehension, though I grieve it should be a cause of uneasi- 
ness to you — my avowal, first, that the miraculous gift has never left the 
Church since the time of the Apostles, though displaying itself under 
different circumstances, and next, that certain reputed miracles are real 
instances of its exhibition. The former of these two points I hold in 
common with all Catholics ; the latter on my own private judgment, which 
I impose on no one. 

" If I keep to my intention of making our correspondence public, it is, I 
assure you, not only as wishing to clear myself of the imputation which has 
in various quarters been cast upon my Lecture, but also, in no slight measure, 
because I am able to present to the world the specimen of an anti-Catholic 
disputant, as fair and honourable in his treatment of an opponent, and as 
mindful of old recollections, as he is firm and distinct in the enunciation of 
his own theological view. 

" That the Eternal Mercy may ever watch over you and guide you, and 
fill you with all knowledge and with all peace, is, my lord, the sincere 
prayer of, 

" Yours most truly, 

•'John H. Newman."